Weapons and Firearm Charges

Twin Cities Area Weapons Charge Lawyer

People often think the Second Amendment to the United States Constitution means there are no restrictions on the possession and use of firearms. However, most states, including Minnesota, have laws in place regarding who can possess a firearm, how it can be used and even how it can be transported. Others laws require a permit to possess a firearm.

States also have laws regarding other dangerous weapons, including switchblade knives and explosives. If these laws are violated, offenders could face serious charges. This could mean lengthy prison sentences, expensive fines and a criminal record. The best way to avoid these consequences is to avoid a conviction.

Apple Valley Firearm Defense Attorney

Former prosecutor James Blumberg is a dedicated Apple Valley weapons and firearm defense lawyer. No matter the charge, James can use his years of experience on both sides of the law to help clients get a favorable outcome. He works hard for clients to have their charges reduced or dropped. Call (952) 431-7758 to schedule a free consultation to learn more about your options.

James Blumberg and the legal team at James Blumberg Law work with clients throughout Dakota County, including Burnsville, Eagan, Hastings, Inver Grove Heights, Lakeville, Mendota Heights and Rosemount, as well as anywhere in the Twin Cities region, including Hennepin County, Ramsey County and Anoka County.

Information About Weapons and Firearm Charges

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Illegal Possession of a Firearm

Some people in Minnesota may be restricted from possessing firearms. For example, Minnesota Statute 97B.021 states that no child younger than 16 years old can possess a firearm without being accompanied by a parent or guardian, although there are some exceptions.

Generally, a person may be restricted from possessing a firearm in Minnesota if he or she:

  • Is younger than 18 years old (handguns and assault weapons);
  • Is a convicted felon;
  • Has been convicted of a domestic violence offense;
  • Has been convicted of a violent crime;
  • Is prohibited from possessing a firearm by a court order;
  • Has been committed or found mentally ill by a court;
  • Has been convicted of misdemeanor or gross misdemeanor drug charges within three years;
  • Is illegally living in the United States;
  • Has been dishonorably discharged from the military; and
  • Has a history of chemical dependency.

The penalties for illegal possession of a firearm depend on several different factors, such as whether the person has previous felony conviction, he or she is considered a United States resident and whether or not there is a history of drug use.

If a minor is charged with illegally possessing a firearm in Minnesota, he or she could face felony charges. This could mean up to five years in prison, a fine up to $10,000 or both. In these charges, a minor would be considered someone younger than 18.

If the person was convicted of a violent offense, he or she could face up to 15 years in prison, a fine up to $30,000 or both. If the conviction was for any other felony offense, it could be a gross misdemeanor, punishable by up to one year in jail, a fine up to $3,000 or both.

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Carrying Weapons Without Permits

A person other than a police officer who carries, holds or possesses a pistol without first having obtained a permit is guilty of a gross misdemeanor, according to Minnesota Statute 624.714. This includes if the pistol is located on the person’s clothes or in his or her vehicle. A subsequent offense would be a felony.

The holder of a permit to carry must have the permit card and his or her driver’s license, state identification card or other government-issued photo identification in immediate possession at all times when carrying a pistol. The permit card and identification document must be displayed upon lawful demand by a peace officer, according to state law.

If a person does not have the documents or he or she does not provide it to an officer, it could be a petty misdemeanor offense. The fine for a first offense must not exceed $25. In some cases, a firearm could be forfeited.

The permit would become void if a person becomes ineligible to carry a firearm. The holder must return the permit card to the issuing sheriff within five business days after the holder knows or should know he or she is a prohibited person. Failing to do so could be considered a gross misdemeanor.

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Transporting Firearms

How a firearm is transferred also could constitute criminal charges. According to Minnesota Statute 97B.045, a person may not transport a firearm in a vehicle unless the firearm is:

  • Unloaded and in a gun case expressly made to contain a firearm, and the case fully encloses the firearm by being zipped, snapped, buckled, tied or otherwise fastened without any portion of the firearm exposed;
  • Unloaded and in the closed trunk of a motor vehicle;
  • A handgun carried in compliance with a permit; and
  • An antique or ornate firearm.

The transportation laws could not apply in certain situations for disabled people. For instance, if a person has a permit from the commissioner of public safety allowing them to discharge a bow or firearm from a vehicle, the transportation law would not apply.

Additionally, a person can transport an uncased, unloaded firearm in a vehicle while at a shooting range where the person has permission from the owner or possessor to discharge the gun. This, however, excludes within Anoka, Hennepin and Ramsey County.

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Other Weapons Charges

The following acts could constitute misdemeanor and gross misdemeanor weapons charges, according to Minnesota Statute 609.66:

  • Recklessly handling or using a gun or other dangerous weapon so as to endanger another;
  • Intentionally pointing a gun, loaded or unloaded, toward another;
  • Manufacturing or selling any weapon known as a slingshot or sand club;
  • Manufacturing, transferring or possessing metal knuckles or a switchblade knife;
  • Possessing any dangerous substance to be used as a weapon;
  • Allowing a child younger than 14 years old to use a firearm without a parent’s consent; and
  • Possessing a firearm in a prohibited place.

The penalties for these offenses could vary, depending on the circumstances of the situation. However, if any of the acts were committed in a school zone, public housing zone or a park zone, a person could face up to 90 days in jail, a fine of up to $1,000 or both.

Recklessly furnishing a dangerous weapon with disregard of a known substantial risk that the object will be possessed or used to commit a felony crime of violence is guilty of a felony. This could be punishable by up to 10 years in prison, up to $20,000 in fines or both.

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Additional Resources

Minnesota Statutes Concerning Firearms — Read more about the Minnesota laws that outline who can possess a firearm, where it can be displayed and how it can be used. The laws also explain penalties associated with gun offenses in the state.

Permit to Carry FAQs — The Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension answers some of the most frequently asked questions concerning permits needed to carry firearms and other weapons in Minnesota. Learn more about how to apply.

Permit Applications in Dakota County — The Dakota County Sheriff’s Office processes all applications for permits to carry firearms. They also process permits to purchase firearms for areas where they serve as the local police agency.

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James Blumberg Law – A Dakota County Weapon Charges Lawyer

If you have been charged with a firearm or weapons crime, contact Dakota County weapons offense attorney James Blumberg. These charges could have a significant impact on your future, and they should be taken seriously. James can work with you one-on-one to protect your rights. Call James Blumberg Law at (952) 431-7758 to schedule a free consultation.

James Blumberg Law also represents clients in Rice County, Steele County, Dodge County, Carver County, Scott County, and Sibley County.