Domestic violence laws in Minnesota outlaw those convicted from possessing firearms. Until now, enforcement of this part of the law has been extremely lenient. However, recent stories have surfaced about this law’s abuse, which means officials will be on the watch for those who are in violation. If you have a gun and a domestic violence conviction, you could be in big trouble. Here’s what’s been happening.
Stories Noting Possession Prohibition Abuse Gain Traction
A recent investigation by KARE 11 noted that the firearms surrender law for domestic abuse offenders is rarely enforced.
After an Order of Protection is issued by a judge, the defendant has three days to transfer any firearms in possession to police or someone else. Yet in dozens of cases where an Order for Protection was put in place, the required transfer orders for firearms surrender were never filed.
Last year, law enforcement officers in the state of Washington enacted a new task force to enforce a similar law. They investigated cases where domestic abuse offenders did not admit to owning guns, but photos on social media and reports from alleged victims gave them enough evidence to gain search warrants and seize firearms. In Wisconsin, offenders are required to attend a compliance hearing one week after the surrender order is issued.
Similar measures may soon be enacted by Minnesota law enforcement officials. A pilot program like the one in Wisconsin is being considered in certain areas of Minnesota. The governor is also planning to address the firearms surrender issue soon.
One woman is even trying to get a new bill passed at the state level that would add further restrictions to firearm use for domestic violence offenders. House Bill 1605 will permit law enforcement officers and family members to temporarily remove firearms from an individual’s possession if he or she presents significant danger. The bill recently stalled in the state legislature, but may regain strength as these new initiatives take hold.
What Gun Owners Need to Know about Current Minnesota Law
Here is a basic summary of what you must know about your possession rights.
- If you have pistols, rifles, or any firearm that shoots projectiles via explosives, compressed air, or gas, you must surrender these items upon being issued an Order of Protection.
- If the court determines you to be an imminent risk, the surrender must be immediate. Otherwise, you have three days to transfer the firearms over to law enforcement, a lawful third party, or a licensed firearms dealer.
- The third-party recipient must sign an affidavit which also lists the serial numbers, make, and model of all firearms.
- The law enforcement agency or licensed firearms dealer must provide a proof of transfer with detailed information about the firearms.
- The firearms must be surrendered for the entire time the Order of Protection is in effect or a conviction is made. This varies depending on the situation.
- Any violation will be a gross misdemeanor with penalties of up to one year in jail, a maximum fine of $3,000, or both.
How a Qualified Minnesota Attorney Can Help You
If you are facing charges of a violation in firearms possession due to a domestic violence conviction, it’s important that you contact an experienced Minnesota criminal defense lawyer for help. You could face jail time and a significant fine for a violation, and it may even impact your familial situation as it relates to your domestic violence offense.
Do not simply take your charges lying down. We can help you put up an aggressive legal fight to protect your future. Get started by calling us today for a free case review.
About the Author:
Christopher Keyser is a Minneapolis-based criminal and DWI defense attorney known for fighting aggressively for his clients and utilizing innovative tactics to get the most positive results. He has been featured in numerous media outlets due to the breadth and depth of his knowledge, and recognized as a Minnesota Super Lawyers Rising Star (2014–2015), a Top 100 Trial Lawyer (2013–2015), and a Top 40 Under 40 Attorney (2013–2015).