The Second Amendment to the US Constitution protects the right of every American to own and use firearms. However, the courts have ruled that this right can be limited, and even taken away in some circumstances (these vary from state to state).
In Minnesota, you can lose your firearm rights if you get in trouble with the law, as well as for certain other reasons. However, that doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll never be allowed to own a weapon again.
This article looks at gun rights restoration in Minnesota in more detail.
Why Your Gun Rights Might Be Stripped
There are a number of reasons why Minnesota authorities may deem you unfit to use a firearm. These include:
- A conviction for a “crime of violence,” either in Minnesota or elsewhere. This category comprises a range of different felony offenses, including murder, manslaughter, gang crimes, sexual offenses, and certain types of assault. A conviction of this kind typically results in a lifetime firearm ban.
- A misdemeanor or gross misdemeanor conviction for a Chapter 152 (drugs and controlled substances) offense within the last three years.
- Illegal immigrant status.
- Admission to a healthcare facility due to certain mental health issues. The level of mental illness required for the loss of gun rights is relatively high.
- A conviction for a crime carrying a punishment of at least a year in prison.
You should note that your firearm rights may be revoked in relation to some of these issues under either state or federal law.
Can You Lose Your Gun Rights Because of a Minnesota DWI?
Certain Minnesota DWI offenses are serious enough to warrant the removal of your gun rights. A first-degree DWI carries a sentence of up to seven years in prison; as noted above, any criminal sentence greater than one year in prison can lead to the removal of gun rights. A second-degree DWI may also be serious enough to see you lose your entitlement to use firearms.
How Gun Rights Restoration Works in Minnesota
The method you’ll have to use to pursue gun rights restoration will depend on how you lost the rights. If it happened because of criminal activity, you may need to complete a process called “Restoration of Civil Rights” through the Minnesota Judicial Branch. You’ll need to petition for the restoration of your gun rights in the county where the criminal offense you committed was prosecuted, or in another county in which restoration is possible for you (such as the county in which you live). If you’re not sure where to file your petition, your attorney will be able to guide you.
In other criminal cases, the court may decide to reinstate your gun rights once you complete all conditions of your sentence, potentially including a period of probation.
If you submit an application for gun rights restoration to a Minnesota court, the judge will consider whether the circumstances of your case warrant the reinstatement of your firearm entitlements. They will look at rehabilitation efforts you have made, as well as whether there is “good cause” for you to have the right to use a weapon. Such good cause might be that you require a gun for work or that you regularly hunt.
You must also petition the court to restore your gun rights if you lose them because of a mental health issue. However, this type of gun rights restoration in Minnesota is only available if you lost the entitlements under state law; if you lost them at the federal level, no relief is possible through Minnesota courts.
If you need help with a Minnesota DWI or another criminal matter in the state, contact us today. We’ll provide an initial analysis of your case for free.