Category Archives: Current Events

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

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.


We have Disarmed Ourselves to the Point Where Mass Shootings are Common

We’re not kidding. When you read through the common threads of how recent mass shooters chose their targets, one thing emerges with remarkable clarity: they choose targets where they *know* guns will not be present. When you obtain your Utah Conceal Carry Permit or your Minnesota Permit to Carry license and then safely and quietly carry your firearm, you’re helping our society be safer, not more violent. Many of these mass shootings would not have occurred had many more law abiding citizens carried firearms for protection and had then been able to use them against the mass shooter.

If you don’t have your Minnesota Permit to Carry license, now is the time to register for our next class. Within 40 days, you can have your permit and be carrying – helping to keep our society safe.

What is a CCW Permit?

In the minds of most people, a CCW (Carry a Concealed Weapon) means carrying a concealed firearm in public. Since many states don’t have open carry laws, many assume that Minnesota offers a CCW. The truth is that Minnesota is an open carry state, which is why we have a “Permit to Carry” instead of a CCW license. You can think of the Minnesota Permit to Carry license as our equivalent to other state’s CCW license.

The various states use different terms for licenses or permits to carry a concealed firearm. Here’s a quick cheat sheet for the various acrostics:

  • Concealed Handgun License/Permit (CHL/CHP)
  • Concealed Carry Weapons (CCW)
  • Concealed (Defensive/Deadly) Weapon Permit/License (CDWL/CWP/CWL)
  • Concealed Carry Permit/License (CCP/CCL)
  • License To Carry (Firearms) (LTC/LTCF)
  • Carry of Concealed Deadly Weapon license (CCDW)
  • Concealed Pistol License (CPL)

Here is a cool, animated GIF that shows how the carry and concealed handgun and firearm laws have developed since 1986.  This is taken from open source/common areas of Wikipedia.



Just remember, Minnesota is an open carry state, so we have a Permit to Carry license, not a Concealed Handgun License.

Bill English
NRA Instructor

California FAQ: Just the Beginning of Where Anti-gun Forces Want to Take Us

The California FAQ on firearms reveals a state that is run by anti-gun forces.  If you ever take for granted our rights in this state, just take a few minutes and think through what California residents are faced with if they want to defend themselves.

Anti-gun forces here in Minnesota would take us farther down the road than California, in our estimation.  Be sure to stay active in pro-gun legislative activities and encourage your friends and family members to be proficient in the safe use of a firearm.

Number of Permits Issued Doubles in 2013: Facts and Stats

Minnesotans are getting their permits in record numbers. The total number of Minnesotans who have a Permit to Carry license at the end of 2013 was 165,295 out of an estimated 5,420,380 citizens (3%). The number of permits issued in 2013 nearly doubled from 2012. These numbers (raw numbers here) are reported by the Minnesota Department of Public Safety and are available to anyone who cares to look at them. In 2013, there were 62,950 Permit to Carry licenses and 60,471 licenses were issued. Hennepin county denied the most number of permits – 153, followed by Ramsey county at 103. The two most common reasons for denials were “danger to self or others” (418) and “other reasons” (232).

In 2013, it appears that there were zero instances of the justifiable use of firearms by permit holders. From a financial perspective, the permit to carry system, across all 87 counties, generates $1,777,166 in profit for the various county sheriff’s departments. The Department of Public Safety raked in $567,185 in 2013 from the permit to carry system here in Minnesota.

20% of the permits issued last year were to women. This is great to see. We are strong believers in women carrying firearms. Our belief that women carrying is beneficial to them is grounded in solid research. Using data for all 3,054 U.S. counties from 1977 to 1994, University of Chicago Prof. John Lott found that for each additional year a shall-issue concealed handgun law is in effect, the rate of murder declines by 3%, robbery by over 2%, and rape by 2%. American women use a firearm to deter a rapist 416 times each day, which is 12 times more often than rapists use guns ( Since 1930 the US population has doubled and the number of guns has quadrupled, gun accidents are down. Gun ownership went up 69% between 1974 and 1988. Accidents during the same time decreased 27%. (John Lott) Only 2% of defensive gun uses result in shots fired. (Gary Kleck)

Since 2003, Minnesota has experienced overall decreases in the rates of murder, rape, robbery and aggravated assault from 2008 to 2012 (5 year period). For example, in 2008, the number of rapes reported were 2,292. In 2012, that number was 2,060. Meanwhile, the number of permits increased from 20,783 issued in 2008 to 31,657 issued in 2012. While violent crime increased from 2012 to 2013, the longer trend rates show that violent crime is going down in Minnesota while the number of permit holders is increasing. Whether this is a causal relationship can be debated, but based on John Lott’s various books (such as More Guns, Less Crime), it seems reasonable to at least draw a level of correlation between these two trends.

In nearly no other country on earth do you have the right and freedom to have your own weapons. Be sure to exercise your right to keep and bear arms and if possible, get your Minnesota Permit to Carry license. In our view, legally carrying a firearm contributes to an increasingly safe society.

Bill English


Minnesota House Approves Gun Ban Bill

For those who are convicted of domestic abuse or those under a restraining order (MN Domestic Abuse Statue), the Minnesota House has approved a bill banning their right to own a firearm. The bill has bipartisan support and was introduced by Dan Schoen (D-Cottage Grove) who is also a police officer and has the support of Tony Cornish (R-Vernon Center) who is a retired police and DNR officer.

Those under a restraining order have not necessarily been convicted of anything, yet this bill would take away their gun rights for the time they are under a restraining order. They would be able to have an FFL hold their firearms while they are under the restraining order and then (presumably) have the firearms returned once the order is lifted. Having an FFL doesn’t mean that ownership or title to the firearms is transferred.

Those who have been convicted of domestic abuse have proven themselves to be potentially violent persons, so taking away their gun rights seems to make sense. But since that is a felony, one wonders why this law is needed. It might be redundant to the current laws already on the books.

Take some time to read the proposed language. What do you think?

Little Falls Man Found Guilty of 1st Degree Murder

Just because an intruder enters your house doesn’t mean you have carte’ blanch to kill him or her. Byron Smith of Little Falls, Minnesota found this out the hard way. After two teens broke into his home, he shot them a total of 18 times, kept the dead bodies in his house for a day before calling police and recorded the entire episode for posterity. He violated the law in several ways.

First, he continued to shoot after the threat was removed. Specifically, he talked about giving the female a good, clean “finishing shot” and compared her killing to that of putting down a deer who is suffering. This was probably the largest indication of murder, not self-defense.

Secondly, he called her a “bitch” before he finally killed her. She was suffering from previous gunshot wounds and had no way to defend herself. His killer of her could not be interpreted in any other way than intentional murder.

Finally, as part of his surveillance system, he had audio recordings of everything that happened. I suspect that without the audio, he would not have been found guilty because there would have been little evidence to refute his testimony. But with the audio, I don’t think he stood a chance of being found not guilty.

When we teach the Minnesota Permit to Carry course, we constantly remind people of two things: A) the only fight you’ll never lose is one that you don’t get involved with in the first place and B) you stop shooting as soon as the threat is neutralized.

Byron violated both of these principles. And now he’ll spend the rest of his natural life in prison as a result.

This is Both Unsafe and Unwise

Not only is this the wrong way to hold a rifle, it should occur to any human being of average intelligence that this is not going to turn out well. Being unsafe with firearms is not funny.  It  is dangerous.  And in this case, stupid.

In our Minnesota Permit to Carry and other firearm courses, we focus on safety and work to ensure that you can handle your firearms safely.  If safety isn’t your number one consideration when handling a firearm, then you stand a good chance of having a serious accident someday.