Do You Need a Permit to Carry in Minnesota to Carry a Firearm?



Often, we are asked if a Minnesota resident needs a Permit to Carry in order to carry a revolver or semi-automatic pistol. Generally speaking, the answer is “Yes”. But the full answer is a bit more complicated. Under current Minnesota law, an individual does not need a Minnesota Permit to Carry license to legally carry a pistol in the following scenarios that are represented in this chart:

Rights Non-Permit Holders Permit Holders
Owning firearms Yes Yes
Carrying loaded/unloaded firearms at home Yes Yes
Carrying loaded/unloaded firearms at fixed place of business Yes Yes
Carrying firearms, unloaded, in a locked case, in the trunk Yes Yes
Use of lethal force in self-defense Yes Yes
Performing citizen’s arrest Yes Yes
Carrying a firearm in most public places No Yes
Carrying a loaded firearm: passenger compartment of car No Yes
Carrying firearms in school No No
Acting as a police officer No No
Driving directly to/from home and fixed place of business Yes Yes
Carrying loaded/unloaded firearm on your private land Yes Yes
Carry a pistol from/to a place of purchase or repair Yes Yes
Carry a pistol in woods or fields or waters owned by the State of Minnesota when the purpose is for legal hunting or target shooting in a safe area Yes Yes

Posted Signs Barring Minnesota Permit to Carry Holders

Some students ask about businesses being able to post signs barring permit holders from carrying in their businesses. Well, the information on posting is spelled out in Minnesota Statue 624.714. Notice that a “reasonable request” is defined as either posting the sign as prescribed or making a personal request. Putting up long-winded web pages on their web site is NOT a “reasonable request”. Notice also that they cannot confiscate your gun – at least not legally. Remember – the sign’s criteria must be “prominent” and “conspicuous”.

Subd. 17.Posting; trespass.

(a) A person carrying a firearm on or about his or her person or clothes under a permit or otherwise who remains at a private establishment knowing that the operator of the establishment or its agent has made a reasonable request that firearms not be brought into the establishment may be ordered to leave the premises. A person who fails to leave when so requested is guilty of a petty misdemeanor. The fine for a first offense must not exceed $25. Notwithstanding section 609.531, a firearm carried in violation of this subdivision is not subject to forfeiture.

(b) As used in this subdivision, the terms in this paragraph have the meanings given.

(1) “Reasonable request” means a request made under the following circumstances:

(i) the requester has prominently posted a conspicuous sign at every entrance to the establishment containing the following language: “(INDICATE IDENTITY OF OPERATOR) BANS GUNS IN THESE PREMISES.”; or

(ii) the requester or the requester’s agent personally informs the person that guns are prohibited in the premises and demands compliance.

(2) “Prominently” means readily visible and within four feet laterally of the entrance with the bottom of the sign at a height of four to six feet above the floor.

(3) “Conspicuous” means lettering in black arial typeface at least 1-1/2 inches in height against a bright contrasting background that is at least 187 square inches in area.

(4) “Private establishment” means a building, structure, or portion thereof that is owned, leased, controlled, or operated by a nongovernmental entity for a nongovernmental purpose.

(c) The owner or operator of a private establishment may not prohibit the lawful carry or possession of firearms in a parking facility or parking area.

(d) This subdivision does not apply to private residences. The lawful possessor of a private residence may prohibit firearms, and provide notice thereof, in any lawful manner.

(e) A landlord may not restrict the lawful carry or possession of firearms by tenants or their guests.

(f) Notwithstanding any inconsistent provisions in section 609.605, this subdivision sets forth the exclusive criteria to notify a permit holder when otherwise lawful firearm possession is not allowed in a private establishment and sets forth the exclusive penalty for such activity.

(g) This subdivision does not apply to:

(1) an active licensed peace officer; or

(2) a security guard acting in the course and scope of employment.

Carrying on College Campuses

The law on carrying for college campuses is found in 624.718. The effect of this part of the law for Minnesota Permit to Carry holders creates some interesting situations.

Visitors

If you are a visitor to a state-owned college campus, you can carry your firearm. The Reasonable Request laws (624.714) apply only to private establishments, so legally, public colleges cannot make a reasonable request under Minnesota law.

Students

Minnesota College or university students generally are prohibited from having any firearm on any property (facilities and land) that belongs to the State, but this prohibition does not apply to students when they are not on college property. Students who are licensed peace officers are permitted to carry their weapon in accordance with applicable law. Certain exceptions authorized by the college or university president may apply for approved academic or other purposes and students are not prohibited from having a firearm in parking lots or parking facilities, subject to other laws governing possession or carry of a firearm.

Employees

With limited exceptions, State college employees are prohibited from carrying a pistol or other firearm on or off campus while they are acting in the scope and course of their employment, whether or not they have a permit to carry a pistol. Employees who are licensed peace officers are permitted to carry their weapon in accordance with applicable law, whether or not the employee has academic or public safety responsibilities that require the firearm. Employees are not prohibited from having a firearm in parking lots or parking facilities, subject to other laws governing possession or carry of a firearm. Employees who are on College property outside the scope and course of their employment are treated as visitors. As an example, this means that if an employee goes to another college as a parent taking his or her teen to visit the college, s/he can carry.

Subd. 18.Employers; public colleges and universities.

(a) An employer, whether public or private, may establish policies that restrict the carry or possession of firearms by its employees while acting in the course and scope of employment. Employment related civil sanctions may be invoked for a violation.

(b) A public postsecondary institution regulated under chapter 136F or 137 may establish policies that restrict the carry or possession of firearms by its students while on the institution’s property. Academic sanctions may be invoked for a violation.

(c) Notwithstanding paragraphs (a) and (b), an employer or a postsecondary institution may not prohibit the lawful carry or possession of firearms in a parking facility or parking area.

Summary

As you can see, the laws around when and where a Minnesota Permit to Carry Permit Holder can carry are varied and a bit murky in some situations. We would advise you to use discretion and keep your firearm concealed, even though Minnesota is an open Permit to Carry state. Discretion is your friend and keeping your pistol concealed will help you avoid unwanted interactions with both the public at large and law enforcement officers.

Bill English
NRA Instructor
Minnesota Permit to Carry Instructor
Utah Conceal Carry Instructor

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