Firearms

Below is an overview of the process to restore your rights to possess a firearm (gun) and/or ammunition in Minnesota District Court after your rights have been permanently taken away for a felony conviction or delinquency adjudication of a crime of violence. Read through our Definitions tab for commonly used words, and read through our Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) for more information about the process. The Forms tab will help guide you to the forms packets that are available.
 

Why would my rights to possess a firearm and/or ammunition be permanently taken away?

After a criminal conviction or delinquency adjudication for a felony crime of violence, your rights to possess firearms and ammunition are permanently taken away. This means you cannot lawfully possess a firearm or ammunition for the remainder of your lifetime unless the court restores those rights. Felony crimes of violence are defined by the law, and sometimes it is not obvious that the crime you were convicted of is considered a crime of violence until you look at what the law says. If you are not sure whether your rights to possess firearms and ammunition have been taken away, it is a good idea to get legal advice.

Do I need to file anything with the court?

If your rights to possess a firearm and/or ammunition have been permanently taken away and you want to be able to lawfully possess a firearm and/or ammunition, you will need to ask the court to restore your rights. This process is commonly referred to as Restoration of Civil Rights.

For more information about Restoration of Civil Rights, see the FAQs.

Ammunition
Ammunition, cartridge cases, primers, bullets, or propellent powder that is meant to be used in any firearm. See Minn. Stat. § 609.02, subd. 17.
Crimes of Violence
Specific felony crimes that the legislature has chosen as permanent bars to possessing a firearm or ammunition. If you are convicted of a crime of violence, your right to possess a firearm or ammunition is permanently taken away unless the court restores these rights.
Permit to Carry
A permit that allows an individual to lawfully have a handgun on them while in public places. A permit to carry is also a permit to purchase an unlimited amount of firearms during the five year period that the permit is valid.
Permit to Purchase
A permit that allows an individual to lawfully buy handguns or semi-automatic weapons.
Restoration of Civil Rights

The process of requesting that the court give you back the right to possess firearms and ammunition.

How do I know if my rights to possess a firearm and ammunition have been taken away?

Your rights to possess a firearm and ammunition can be taken away for different reasons. For example, your rights to possess a firearm and ammunition can be taken away under Minnesota law because of a criminal conviction, because someone gets an Order for Protection against you, or because you have been committed to a mental health treatment facility in Minnesota or another state. Your rights to possess a firearm and ammunition can be taken away under state law and/or federal law. See Minn. Stat. § 624.713. Sometimes it may be difficult to know whether your rights have been taken away. If you are unsure, you may want to get legal advice.

 

Are my rights to possess firearms and ammunition permanently taken away?

Generally under Minnesota law, your rights to possess firearms and ammunition are permanently taken away if you have been:

  • convicted or adjudicated delinquent of a felony crime of violence,
  • committed by the court for mental health reasons to a treatment facility,
  • found incompetent to stand trial, or
  • found not guilty by reason of mental illness.

The only way to lawfully possess firearms and ammunition after your rights have been permanently taken away is to ask the court to restore your civil rights.  See Minn. Stat. § 624.713.

If my rights to possess a firearm and ammunition have been permanently taken away, have my voting rights also been permanently taken away?
Certain civil rights, such as the right to possess firearms and ammunition and the right to vote, are sometimes taken away when a person is convicted of a crime. However, voting rights are not taken away permanently. If your voting rights were taken away because of a criminal conviction, they are automatically restored after you have completed all the required terms of your sentencing, including probation, parole, and supervised release. Once you have completed all of the terms of your sentencing, you will need to register to vote. If you are unsure whether you have completed all of the terms of your sentencing, you may want to get legal advice.
If your voting rights were taken away for a reason other than a criminal conviction, you may want to get legal advice to see how you can restore your voting rights. For example, voting rights can be taken away when the court finds that someone does not have the capacity to make personal or financial decisions for themselves and appoints a guardian and/or conservator to make decisions on their behalf. 
 
If my criminal record was expunged, are my rights to possess a firearm and ammunition automatically restored?
No. Criminal expungement only seals your court records. It does not automatically restore your rights to possess a firearm or ammunition. You would need to separately ask the court to restore those rights. 
 
How do I ask for my rights to possess firearms and ammunition to be restored?
In order to ask for the court to restore your rights, you will need to complete a Petition for Restoration of Firearm and Ammunition Rights. Visit the Forms tab to find this form and instructions that describe the steps you will need to follow.
 
Where should I file my Petition for Restoration of Firearm and Ammunition Rights?
You can file your Petition for Restoration of Firearm and Ammunition Rights in the county where the criminal case happened or in another county where the court has power to make legal decisions for you (for example, the county where you live). Read through the instructions (for either a crime of violence conviction or a civil commitment) for more information about choosing where to file and in which case. If you are not sure where you should file your case, you may want to get legal advice.
 
What if I was denied a permit to purchase, but my rights to possess a firearm and ammunition have not been taken away?
It is possible that your rights to possess a firearm and ammunition were restricted as a result of a criminal, domestic abuse, mental health, or similar proceeding. If your rights have not been permanently taken away, the court will automatically restore your civil rights to possess a firearm and ammunition as soon as the law allows. If you believe that your permit to purchase was improperly denied, you can ask the court to review the denial. The MN Judicial Branch does not have forms for this process, so you may want to get legal advice for help with asking the court to review your denial. 
 
What if I was denied a permit to carry, but my rights to possess a firearm and ammunition have not been taken away?
It is possible that your rights to possess a firearm and ammunition were restricted as a result of a criminal, domestic abuse, mental health, or similar proceeding. If your rights have not been permanently taken away, the court will automatically restore your civil rights to possess a firearm and ammunition as soon as the law allows. If you believe that your permit to carry was improperly denied, you can ask the court to review the denial. If you want the court to reconsider the denial, you can use the Petition for Reconsideration
 
Where do I apply for a permit to carry a firearm?
You can apply for a permit to carry a firearm at the sheriff’s office in the county where you live. The application is available on the MN Bureau of Criminal Apprehension’s website (BCA).  
 
Where do I apply for a permit to purchase a firearm?
You can apply for a permit to purchase a firearm through a firearm dealer or your local law enforcement agency. A firearm permit approved by local law enforcement is valid for one year, and you can purchase an unlimited amount of firearms during that time. A firearm permit from a firearm dealer is valid for a one-time purchase of the handgun that you have chosen to buy from that dealer.

If you want to apply for a permit to purchase from local law enforcement, you can give the application to your local police chief. If you do not have a local police chief, you can give the application to your county sheriff’s office. The application through law enforcement is available on the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension's website
 

Firearms Forms (statewide)

The MN Judicial Branch publishes some firearms forms, but not every possible form. For forms that are not available from the MN Judicial Branch, you could look for forms at a law library, from a legal forms publisher, or from an attorney. You should get advice from an attorney if you are not sure which forms to use in your case.

The following is a list of some of the laws and rules that relate to forfeiture cases. We encourage you to talk with a lawyer to get advice on how the laws and rules may affect your case. Learn more about Laws, Rules & Legal Research.
 
MN Bureau of Criminal Apprehension – Firearms – Information and resources provided by the MN Bureau of Criminal Apprehension (BCA) regarding firearm permit applications, annual reports, and permit tracking system.
MN Sheriff’s Office Locations – A comprehensive list of the Minnesota Sheriff’s Office Locations, including address and phone number.