All posts by Bill

NRA Instructor

Do You Have a Duty to Inform?

In Minnesota, when you are stopped by state or local police, do you have a duty to inform them that you’re legally carrying a firearm before being asked by a peace officer?

The short answer is “no”. Minnesota law states: “The holder of a permit to carry must have the permit card and a driver’s license, state identification card, or other government-issued photo identification in immediate possession at all times when carrying a pistol and must display the permit card and identification document upon lawful demand by a peace officer…” (624.714, Subd 1b). So in Minnesota, only after you are asked by a peace officer must you show him/her your permit to carry license.

If you don’t have your permit with you, the peace officer can charge you with a petty misdemeanor. The fine for the first offense is not more than $25 and your firearm is not subject to forfeiture. However, if you can produce your license later in court or in the office of the arresting officer, Minnesota law states that the citation must be dismissed.

Since the license does not contain your picture, if the officer chooses to do so, s/he can lawfully require you to write a sample signature in the officer’s presence to verify your identity. Presumably, your sample signature would be compared to the one on the license you produced to ensure you are who you claim to be.

In all encounters with peace officers, when you’re carrying, it is a good (real good) idea to make sure that you treat them with respect and that you follow all orders, even if you feel they are in violation of law or your constitutional rights. The time to argue your points is not with the officer – it is in court. Treat the officers with respect and chances are good that they’ll do the same in return.

Bill English
Founder, Maple Grove Firearms

Shoot Yourself in the Foot

ND-shot-in-footThis guy shot himself in the foot – literally because he took the safety off his pistol as he was drawing it from the holster and then put his finger on the trigger too quickly.

Learning to draw and fire is an essential skill to carrying a firearm.  Knowing how to draw safely is something that should be practiced on a regular basis.

One of the problems in learning this skill is that most ranges won’t allow the drawing and firing of a firearm in a single action.  So you may need to work hard to find a range that can accommodate this skill development.  But it will be the worth the effort.

Validity of Utah Conceal Carry Permit when you Change States of Residence

Recently, a customer asked us if their non-resident Utah Conceal Carry permit would still be legal if they moved out of Minnesota and took up residence in another state. Since the application process in Utah requires that you have a valid permit in your home state, our customer was wondering if you changed your residence to a different state other than the one in which you applied for your Utah permit, would that invalidate your Utah Conceal Carry Permit?

The answer is that as long as you have a valid Permit in your home state – in this case, the Minnesota Permit to Carry license – at the time of your application for Utah’s Conceal Carry license, then Utah license is valid until its’ renewal date. At that point, you’ll need to have a valid permit to carry or conceal carry license in your home state to renew your Utah Conceal Carry permit.

We recommend that if you move, you swiftly get your new home state’s permit as well. It’s just better if the police stop you and you can produce a valid permit from your home state. Just like you get a new driver’s license, so you should look to get a new permit to carry or conceal carry license in your new home state as well.

Silencers in Minnesota

Are silencers legal in Minnesota? The short answer is “no”. The law clearly states:

Subd. 1a. Felony crimes; silencers prohibited; reckless discharge. (a) Except as otherwise provided in subdivision 1h, whoever does any of the following is guilty of a felony and may be sentenced as provided in paragraph (b):

(1) sells or has in possession any device designed to silence or muffle the discharge of a firearm;

(2) intentionally discharges a firearm under circumstances that endanger the safety of another; or

(3) recklessly discharges a firearm within a municipality.

Sorry – any device designed to silence or muffle the sound of a discharge of a firearm is committing felony.

Now – can you buy them? Technically, yes, but one purchased it will be in your possession and that is also a felony. So, in short, silencers are illegal in the State of Minnesota.

Law enforcement organizations, military units and FFLs who sell to them may sell and/or possess silencers. But they are not available in Minnesota to the general public. 39 states currently allow the public to have silencers. Minnesota is in the minority of states that don’t allow it. And having a Minnesota Permit to Carry license doesn’t matter on this issue. The Permit to Carry license don’t give you license to own a suppressor.

Bill English
NRA Instructor
Maple Grove Firearms

Differences Between New and Renewal for the Minnesota Permit to Carry License

We often get asked “What is the difference between getting a new Minnesota Permit to Carry license and a renewed Minnesota Permit to Carry license? The answer can be summed up in one word: “None.”

Minnesota State Law does not differentiate between new and renewal permits for the Permit to Carry license. The elements that are required to be taught in a permit to carry class are the same regardless of whether or not you’re apply for the first time or getting your existing Permit to Carry license renewed.

The statue reads as follows:

Subd. 2a. Training in the safe use of a pistol. (a)

An applicant must present evidence that the applicant received

training in the safe use of a pistol within one year of the date

of an original or renewal application. Training may be

demonstrated by:

(1) employment as a peace officer in the state of Minnesota

within the past year; or

(2) completion of a firearms safety or training course

providing basic training in the safe use of a pistol and

conducted by a certified instructor.

(b) Basic training must include:

(1) instruction in the fundamentals of pistol use;

(2) successful completion of an actual shooting qualification exercise; and

(3) instruction in the fundamental legal aspects of pistol

possession, carry, and use, including self-defense and the

restrictions on the use of deadly force.

(c) The certified instructor must issue a certificate to a

person who has completed a firearms safety or training course

described in paragraph (b). The certificate must be signed by

the instructor and attest that the person attended and completed

the course.

(d) A person qualifies as a certified instructor if the

person is certified as a firearms instructor within the past

five years by an organization or government entity that has been

approved by the Department of Public Safety in accordance with

the department’s standards.

(e) A sheriff must accept the training described in this

subdivision as meeting the requirement in subdivision 2,

paragraph (b), for training in the safe use of a pistol. A

sheriff may also accept other satisfactory evidence of training

in the safe use of a pistol.

 

As you can see, Minnesota statues don’t even have a concept of a renewal vs. new permit. This is something that has been developed over time by the training companies in their marketing materials.

At least for us, this is why the cost of a permit to carry class is the same – regardless of whether or not it is for a new permit or a renewal. The education elements are the same. Next time you need to sit a class for the Minnesota Permit to Carry license, please consider Maple Grove Firearms. You won’t be disappointed with our education classes.

Bill English, NRA Instructor

2014 Annual Minnesota Permit to Carry Survey

Between May 20th and June 6th of 2014, Maple Grove Firearms conducted an open survey about the firearm carry habits of those who live within Minnesota. A total of 104 individuals participated in the survey (~15 were outside of Minnesota, so one wonders if they have multiple homes with one of them being in Minnesota) and nearly all of them (over 90%) completed the survey in its’ entirety. Because of the relatively small population size, we’re not able to make statistically significant inferences from the data, so we’re not claiming that this is a scientific poll. Having said that, the results are interesting and should be evaluated by all parties concerned with carry issues here in Minnesota – including private citizens, pro- and anti-gun groups, police and legislative.

Core Results

  • 89% carry hollow point bullets.
  • 44% ignore the no-carry signs
  • 65% carry a firearm for self-defense reasons
  • 42% carry a second magazine
  • 62% have been carrying a firearm 5 years or less
  • 29% carry a knife with a 3″ blade or longer
  • 55% visit a gun range at least monthly

Demographics

We started the survey by asking a series of demographic questions. Here is an outline of our 104 respondents:

  • 92% of the respondents were between the ages of 21 and 60, with the high concentration (385) between the ages of 31-45.
  • 93% of the respondents were male
  • 81% of the respondents had annual incomes below $100,000/year.

28% have a high school diploma as their highest level of formal education completed. 32% have an Associates degree and 18% have graduated with a 4-year college degree. We were disappointed that women were under-represented in this survey. Those who read this web site and our Facebook page know how much we encourage women to protect themselves through the lawful carrying of a firearm. Given the number of rapes, assaults and other violent crimes against women each year, it just stands to reason that more women should be protecting themselves. In terms of political affiliation, we found that most permit to carry license holders described themselves with labels generally thought to be more on the conservative part of the political spectrum:

  • Republican (28%)
  • Independent Conservative (24%)
  • Tea Party (5%)
  • Libertarian (12%)

The Liberal spectrum didn’t fare as well:

  • Democrat (6%)
  • Independent Liberal (2%)
  • Green Party (0%)

Pro-gun advocates should be concerned about the low numbers in the Democrat and Independent Liberal descriptions. One of the ways that we ensure we preserve our guns rights is to make the pro-gun agenda as bi-partisan as possible. Most of our respondents have joined at least one Association. 37% are NRA members, 14% are Gun Owners of America members and yet, 35% have not joined any association that can help them preserve their rights. From our viewpoint, the very low cost of joining an associate that works in Washington and the state legislatures to help ensure our gun rights are preserved is a no-brainer. Yet, it seems that a sizable number of those who carry firearms don’t connect their rights with the hard work that the NRA and others have done to secure these rights for all Americans.

Carry Statistics

Based on our survey, 88% who responded carry a firearm in public. This doesn’t mean that they open carry, it just means that they carry a firearm in public – either concealed or open. Surprisingly, 62% have been carrying 5 years or less with only 7% having carried more than 10 years. This would tend to be correlated with the permit numbers published by the State of Minnesota each year. In 2012, we saw ~ 30,000 permits issued. In 2013, we saw that number double to over 60,000. The vast majority of these are new carry permits. When it came to the number and type of firearms that are owned by the respondents in this survey, 6% decided not to complete this question. Of the remaining 94%, this is what our respondents reported:

Question: How many and what type of firearms do you own?

1-3

4-6

7-10

11-15

Pistol 64 25 6 1
Rifle 44 21 4 2
Shotgun 55 10 1 0
Tactical (Assault) Rifle 35 9 1 1
Revolver 30 6 0 0
Antique 14 3 0 0
Other 7 1 0 0

As you can see from the numbers, a sizable number of respondents own multiple handguns and rifles. We anticipate that the number of those who own tactical rifles will increase if our society continues on its’ current trajectory.

Why carry at all? When asked the question “Why do you carry a firearm in public?”, the most often-cited reasons was (not surprising) “self-defense” (40%). When combined with the more vague “feel safer” (25%), most carry not because they have some arrogant need to be Rambo in life, but simply because they want to feel and be safe from violence against their person. 29% reported that they carry because they want to exercise their 2nd Amendment right. This goes to the notion that a right not exercised is a right forfeited. Part of the reason that Maple Grove Firearms exists is somewhat selfish: we realize that the more people we train and help get their permits, the more difficult it will be for us to lose our rights. In other words, we teach, in part, because we realize that the more who carry, the harder it is for the state legislature to take away our rights.

Frequency: When it comes to frequency of carry in public, 74% carry at least 50% of the time with 37% carrying 91% or more of the time they spend in public. 16% have their permit and yet carry less than 25% of the time they spend in public. I’ve had students tell me that they took the permit class primarily so they could purchase a pistol same-day here in Minnesota, instead of having to wait a longer period of time that comes with having a permit to purchase license.

Caliber size carried: In terms of the caliber size, we messed this question up by not including 9mm as one of the answers. In spite of this, many made it clear they carry 9mm – 38%. 30% carry .40 and 16% carry .45. 16% carry the other calibers that we listed, including .380, .38, .25 and .22.

Obey signs: The question that most surprised us was phrased as follows: “In Minnesota, a business owner or operator can post a sign indicating that you are not allowed to legally carry a pistol in his place of business. Other states may have similar laws. If your state has such a law, do you more often than not comply with those signs or ignore those signs?” A surprising 46% ignore these signs and carry anyways. A bare majority (54%) obey these signs. What this means is that, pragmatically speaking, nearly half of those who have Minnesota Permit to Carry licenses are carrying a firearm in businesses that have expressed their desire to not have firearms within their premises. Here are representative comments from our respondents who ignore the no-carry signs:

  • I’d rather pay the $25 misdemeanor fine than be dead.
  • It’s a hassle to un-holster, unload and secure my firearm, and since I conceal, I place my bet on not being outed as carrying
  • Because if I can ignore them, so can criminals
  • Most shootings happen in a gun free area. If they were to ask me to leave I would
  • MN law goes beyond a simple sign. I never open carry anyway so the only time they would know is the unfortunate situation that I would have to use it. At which point I would most likely be thanked.
  • Because I refuse to be a victim

Many commented on how they don’t patronize businesses that don’t allow firearms. One wonders how often small business owners lose critical sales simply because they believe the myth that the absence of firearms increases the safety of their business environment.

Holster type: When it comes to the holster type, a near majority carry inside the waistband (43%) where as 32% carry outside the waistband. The other 25% use over-the-shoulder, pocket and other holster types.

Secondary magazine: Another (somewhat) surprising result was that 42% of those who carry do so with a second magazine. One wonders if they often practice changing magazines swiftly. I’ve seen videos on how to do this and have taken training on this too, but I can’t say I practice this often primarily because I feel that by the time I’ve emptied my magazine, I’m either dead, the other person is dead or the police have arrived.

Practice routine: 55% visit a gun range at least monthly presumably to practice their shooting capabilities. Visiting a gun range on a regular basis is foundational to keeping up your gun shooting skills. Shooting accuracy is a diminishing skill, so regular practice is a must if you’re going to be proficient in the heat of the moment.

Summary

People who carry a firearm in public do so mainly for self-defense reasons. Given the increase in violence in our society, this is fully understandable. Most want and do obey the law, yet there is an underlying pragmatism that moderates blind obedience to what some believe are poorly written laws. Many carry knives with their guns and often carry a second magazine of ammunition. People who carry tend to not be rich or members of the elite in our society. Most are hard-working, average Americans who simply want to be left alone and protect their person and family should violence ever erupt.

We believe this group is mis-understood by the media elite and those in legislatures who have little experience with firearms or the people who carry them. We suppose this is not totally unexpected: when one’s personal security is provided without cost via the Secret Service or other police or police-type agencies simply because of one’s elected office, one swiftly becomes disconnected and out-of-touch with the realities of living at the grassroots. The arrogance of those who get their security provided to them free-of-charge while denying their constituents their own security is astounding and yet is somehow thought to be an “enlightened” position. It is our belief that if our 2nd Amendment rights were ever to be taken away, many would engage in quiet civil disobedience and carry anyways. It’s simply unnatural to deny individuals their right to defend themselves.

I’m Sorry Officer, I Forgot it!

So, you’re cruising through Pennsylvania or Ohio or some other state that doesn’t have reciprocity with Minnesota – but no worries – you have your Utah Conceal Carry permit which is honored in these states.

Now, you get stopped by the police.  They learn you have a loaded pistol in your car and want to see your Pennsylvania or Ohio permit.  You tell them you have a Utah permit and then you go to find it.  To your horror, you realize (way too late, I might add) that you left your Utah permit at home in Minnesota.

You’ve just committed a felony and chances are good that you’ll be arrested and criminally charged.  Some officers might let you off the hook by detaining you while you figure out a way to get a faxed copy of your permit into their hands.  But most won’t go through the trouble.

Bottom line – if you don’t have the permit with you, then don’t carry.  “I forgot” it and left it at home won’t be an excuse.

Be sure to check out our Reciprocity Center and get the details for each state into which you travel for carry information at www.handgunlaw.us.  You’ll be glad you paid attention to these details.

Legal Use of Force in Minnesota

In our Minnesota Permit to Carry class today, I ended up showing some slides that are outside the materials presented in the Fundamentals book.  The class asked me to post the slides for download – so there they are.

This material was taken directly from a little-known book written by two Minnesota lawyers on Self-Defense and Carry issues.  Personally, I have found this book to be very helpful in terms of understanding Minnesota law better.  We recommend you pick up a copy of this book and read it.

Mass Shootings and Gun Rights: Do Pro-Gun People Value Their Guns More Than Life?

At the time of this writing, we’ve had three mass shootings in the last 14 days: Santa Barbara, Seattle, and Las Vegas. It is sickening and horrifying to see how easily people kill others now. Our culture has reached a point where the value of human life is based mostly on what can do for society, not on any inherent value of life in general. We don’t agree with this position, which is why we value both the life of the unborn and those born alike: Even in our old age, we have inherent worth simply because we are all made in the image of God.

So some will wonder then, why we teach people firearm safety and enable them to complete the process to legally carry firearms in public by getting their Minnesota Permit to Carry and Utah Conceal Carry licenses. If guns kill 11K+ people a year, then surely we are hypocrites for advocating more people carry firearms. “You must be selfish enough”, they think, “to want to have your guns at the expense of innocent lives lost to gun violence.” We don’t see it that way and here’s why.

gun-free-cartoon-3In short, we have disarmed our population to the point where mass shootings can occur with relative certainty on the part of the shooter. The reality is that most who kill others unexpectedly with guns look for places where they know people will be disarmed. For example, this was the case in the Santa Barbara shooting, where Elliot Rodgers, in his manifesto, wrote these haunting words:

“During this Spring of 2013, I began to seriously think about planning the Day of Retribution. My next step towards planning for it was to buy my second handgun, a Sig Sauer P226. It is of a much higher quality than the Glock, and a lot more efficient. In turn, it was also a lot more expensive. My Glock 34 was around $700 dollars, whereas my new Sig Sauer P226 was $1100…….

For a while, I had been deciding on whether I would exact my Retribution in Isla Vista or at Santa Barbara City College. In both places, I had suffered greatly at the hands of everyone there. I have seen attractive young couples walking around in both places, and those were my targets. I wanted to kill as many attractive young couples as I possibly could. After a lot of thinking, I came to the conclusion that the Day of Retribution will take place in Isla Vista…….

It came to a point where I had to set a date for the Day of Retribution. I originally considered doing it on the Halloween of 2013. That is when the entire town erupts in raucous partying. There would literally be thousands of people crowded together who I could kill with ease, and the goal was to kill everyone in Isla Vista, to utterly destroy that wretched town. But then, after seeing footage of previous Halloween events on Youtube, I saw that there were too many cops walking around. It would be too risky. One gunshot from a cop will end everything [emphasis added]. The Day of Retribution would have to be on a normal party weekend, so I set it for some time during November of 2013……

It was time to plot exactly what I will do on the Day of Retribution. I will be a god, punishing women and all of humanity for their depravity. I will finely deliver to them all of the pain and suffering they’ve dealt to me for so long…..

The first thing I had to consider was the exact date it will take place. Valentine’s Day would have been very fitting, since it was the holiday that made me feel the most miserable and insulted, the holiday in which young couples celebrated their happy lives together. The problem was that Valentine’s Day was only a month away. I needed more time than that. Also, on Valentine’s Day most young couples will be spread out in various restaurants in the city instead of being packed together at parties in Isla Vista. Another option was Deltopia, a day in which many young people pour in from all over the state to have a spring break party on Del Playa Street. I figured this would be the perfect day to attack Isla Vista, but after watching Youtube videos of previous Deltopia parties, I saw that there were way too many cops walking around on such an event. It would be impossible to kill enough of my enemies before being dispatched by those damnable cops [emphasis added]…..

The reality is that one sense, these people are mentally ill – but not in a schizophrenic way. They are not connected and the people in their lives miss the signs of impending violence. But in another way, they are not mentally ill or insane – they are intensely angry, calculating, planning, thoughtful, articulate people who know exactly what they are doing. It’s just that they really don’t care about the morality of killing others. They are filled with evil and they eventually act out their evil in the form of killing others. Elliot had choices and could have realized that the reason no one paid attention to him was due to deficiencies in his personality and character. Instead, he chose to blame women, thinking that sex was the ultimate form of acceptance. He blamed everyone but himself. And his hatred for women grew to the point where he concluded in a twisted logic, that killing others before he was killed was the only way out of his pain and the only way justice would be served on those who had committed acts of injustice against him. Twisted logic, to be sure – but he’s still thinking very clearly about where to carry out his Day of Retribution – in a gun-free zone where he can kill as many as possible. He planned his attack for over 1.5 years – something that is not uncommon for these mass killers.

Santa Barbara has a conceal carry rate of just 0.016%. Out of 337,000 residents, just 53 have a conceal carry permit. No wonder he chose this town in which to commit his killings – who would oppose him?

You see, from our perspective, Elliot Rodgers is an example of most mass shooters – they choose their victim based on when those victims will be most vulnerable. It is a cold, hard fact that the presence of guns in the hands of law-abiding citizens who know how to use them is the best way to ensure that mass shootings subside in this country.

In other words, we don’t see guns as the issue – we see people who are deeply disturbed but still able to think clearly enough who are willing to kill innocent people – they are the issue. These demented people are the problem, not the guns. In fact, we conclude that helping more people carry guns in public after sufficient training and background checks as a way to curb gun violence in our society, including these mass shootings.

We predict that Chicago will see a lessening of homicides with firearms in the coming years. Why? Because law-abiding people will be getting their permits and legally carrying firearms to protect themselves and those around them. Everywhere in the US where conceal carry or permit to carry laws have been passed, violent crime has been reduced.

So, we value human life more than guns. But we find that the presence of firearms in the hands of law-abiding citizens saves lives. It is really that simple for us. See our Armed Citizen stories for how people have used guns to save lives.