Category Archives: Legal

Gun Control is Crouching at Your Door

Recently, 124 House Democrats have co-sponsored HR 4269, the Assault Weapons Ban of 2015. You should stop right now and read the bill before you read further in this post.

The bill would, in effect, prohibit the manufacturing, distribution and possession of most (what are commonly known as) assault rifles, while exempting those rifles that are already in existence. I guess their thinking is that over a period of decades, the assault rifle would die off and not be available for mass shootings.

It also bans the gifting of assault rifles between private parties and all “grandfathered” weapons would be subject to the same limitations and exclusions as new weapons.

If this thing were to ever pass, say goodbye to your AR-15 and other similar types of firearms.

Mind you, this will do *nothing* to stop mass shootings. According to the Congressional Research Service, in 2009, there are a total of 310 million firearms in the United States broken out as follows: 114M handguns, 110M rifles and 86M shotguns. Any one of these types of guns can be used to kill numerous people at the same time. Regulating assault rifles in order to lower mass shootings is a bit like regulating minivans in order to lower automobile deaths. It will have little effect – except to create a black market for AR-style firearms and turn those who own them into criminals.

In addition, the same report showed that firearms-related murder and non-negligent manslaughter rates per 100,000 citizens dropped from 6.6% in 1993 to 3.2% in 2011. This report did not find a correlation between the increase in the number of firearms and an increase in firearm-related murders and manslaughters. This report also found that the use of weapons in non-lethal crimes decreased from 2.4 persons in 2000 to 1.4 persons in 2009.

The mere existence of firearms does not pose a threat to society or individuals within that society, much like the mere existence of fattening foods does pose a threat to us. It’s what we do with the firearm that matters. You can leave a fully loaded shotgun on your front porch and I’ll promise you that everyone will be safe and no one will be harmed until someone picks it up and uses it to shoot another person.

If gun control people really want to solve this problem by removing guns from our society, then they should go big or go home: either abolish the 2nd Amendment or go home.

Obama and ATF Move to Ban .223 Rifle Ammunition

It’s been all over the news yesterday, hyped by Rush Limbaugh and is a growing story today. That’s right – why ban guns when it is so much easier to ban ammunition? It’s difficult to argue with the logic. So the President is abusing his Executive Authority by moving to ban .223 ammunition that is used in the AR-15 rifle.

Let’s get to the facts:

First, the way they are going about this is to claim the M855 ball ammunition, a .223 (or 5.56 mm) rifle bullet that has been used by American citizens for decades, is an “armor piercing” round. Armor piercing ammunition was been banned to the general public in the Gun Control Act of 1968 (GCA) Federal law was passed by Congress. Frank Miniter at Forbes.com elaborates:

“The definition for what constitutes “armor piercing” reads: “a projectile or projectile core which may be used in a handgun and which is constructed entirely … from one or a combination of tungsten alloys, steel, iron, brass, bronze, beryllium copper, or depleted uranium.

Now, to be as nitpicky as the law, the M855 ball ammunition the ATF wants to ban as “armor piercing” doesn’t have a core made of the metals listed in what legally makes a bullet “armor piercing.” The M855 actually has a lead core with a steel tip. Also, the M855 is traditionally a rifle cartridge and the ban only covers handgun ammunition. The DOJ argues this doesn’t stop them because the law stipulates they can ban a bullet that “may be used in a handgun.” And, after all, any cartridge may be used in a handgun.

Still, the definition has another condition. According to law, when ammo is made for “sporting purposes” (hunting, recreation shooting and so on) it is exempt from this ban. According to the DOJ the “GCA exempts ammunition that would otherwise be considered armor piercing if the Attorney General determines that the specific ammunition at issue is ‘primarily intended to be used for sporting purposes.'” So, according to the DOJ, they simply get to decide on this condition.

The “sporting purposes” caveat is an important exemption, as every bullet designed to ethically kill a deer or other big-game animal (whether from a pistol, rifle or shotgun) will also shoot through a bulletproof vest. If all bullets that could potentially shoot through a cop’s bulletproof vest were banned, then hunting—at least ethical hunting with firearms—would cease. Also, shooting competitions and more would effectively be terminated. (For a behind-the-scenes expose of where gun rights and gun design is headed see my book The Future of the Gun.)

Now, the ATF isn’t saying they want to do all that, but this regulatory move would certainly take us in that direction. Also, you can’t blame people for questioning the politics behind this move when the attorney general behind this proposed ban has said his failure to further restrict Second Amendment rights is his greatest failure.”

American hunters, sportsmen and defenders of freedom won’t stand for this. The .223 will be produced, even if banned. It will create a black market that many in law enforcement won’t bother to enforce. Obama hates the 2nd Amendment and the rights of gun owners. He hates the population being able to defend itself. If you’re a person who clings to your Bible and your guns, you’re the picture of what he thinks is wrong with this country.

Rise up and let your voice be heard. Be part of the millions who band together to defeat him. The ATF has opened a public-comment period until March 16. Email APAComments@atf.gov to give your opinion. Write your congressmen and senators. Stand up now or your freedom will be diminished by this absurd proposed rule.

Bill English

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

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.

Effect of a DUI on Getting a Minnesota Permit to Carry License

At least on a monthly basis, I’m asked if a person can get a Minnesota Permit to Carry license if they have a DUI (Driving Under the Influence – some states call this DWI, Driving While Intoxicated) conviction on their record. My answer is this: Generally, a DUI conviction shouldn’t keep the Sheriff from issuing you a Minnesota Permit to Carry license. But as with most things in life, nothing is completely black and white.  Let’s dive into this subject by first understanding the levels of DUI convictions then we’ll discuss the prohibitions in Minnesota State Law against owning a firearm.  We’ll end with closing thoughts.

2010-08-12-DUI-ConvictionsFirst Offense DUI

A Minnesota first offense DWI is classified as a misdemeanor offense as long as you have not been convicted of three or more DWI violations within the past 10-years, or have not previously been convicted of a felony DWI offense.  A first offense DWI charge carries the following penalties:

  • Jail time: Up to 90 days
  • Fines:  $1,000 plus court costs
  • License Revocation:  90 days

Second Offense DUI

A second DUI conviction is classified as a misdemeanor offense and means that you have been convicted of one prior DWI violation within the past 10-years or you have one prior conviction more than 10-years old.  A second offense DWI charge carries the following penalties:

  • Jail time:  Up to 1 year
  • Fines:  $3,000 plus court costs
  • License Revocation:  180 days

Third Offense DUI

A third DUI conviction is classified as a misdemeanor offense and means that you have been convicted of two prior DWI violations within the past 10-years or you have had two prior convictions with one of those convictions being more than 10-years old.   A third offense DWI charge carries the following penalties:

  • Jail time:  Up to 1 year
  • Fines:  $3,000 plus court costs
  • Alcohol Rehab Program:  Required.
  • Vehicle Forfeiture:  At the court’s discretion
  • License Revocation:  At least 1 year.

Fourth Offense DUI

A Minnesota fourth offense DWI is considered a felony offense if you have a previous offense within the past 10-year period.  A fourth offense DWI charge carries the following penalties:

  • Jail time:  up to 7-years
  • Fines:  $14,000 plus court costs
  • Alcohol Rehab Program:  Required
  • License Revocation:  At least 4 years

Effects on Permit to Carry License

Because Minnesota is a “shall” issue state, Sheriffs are required to issue permits as long as a person is not prohibited from possessing a firearm, which is outlined under the following sections:

  • 518B.01, subdivision 14; Violation of an order for protection.
  • 609.224, subdivision 3; Conviction of Assault in the Fifth Degree. A 5th degree assault is a misdemeanor in which the person:
    • commits an act with intent to cause fear in another of immediate bodily harm or death; or
    • intentionally inflicts or attempts to inflict bodily harm upon another.
  • 609.2242, subdivision 3; Domestic Assault. This is, essentially 5th degree assault against a family member
  • 609.749, subdivision 8; Conviction of Stalking
  • 624.713; General prohibitions:
    • Under 18 years of age
    • Been convicted of a “crime of violence”, which includes “crimes in other states or jurisdictions which would have been crimes of violence as herein defined if they had been committed in this state”. A “crime of violence” (624.712) means felony convictions of the following offenses:
      • 609.185 (murder in the first degree)
      • 609.19 (murder in the second degree)
      • 609.195 (murder in the third degree)
      • 609.20 (manslaughter in the first degree)
      • 609.205 (manslaughter in the second degree)
      • 609.215 (aiding suicide and aiding attempted suicide)
      • 609.221 (assault in the first degree)
      • 609.222 (assault in the second degree)
      • 609.223 (assault in the third degree)
      • 609.2231 (assault in the fourth degree)
      • 609.229 (crimes committed for the benefit of a gang)
      • 609.235 (use of drugs to injure or facilitate crime)
      • 609.24 (simple robbery)
      • 609.245 (aggravated robbery)
      • 609.25 (kidnapping)
      • 609.255 (false imprisonment)
      • 609.322 (solicitation, inducement, and promotion of prostitution; sex trafficking)
      • 609.342 (criminal sexual conduct in the first degree)
      • 609.343 (criminal sexual conduct in the second degree)
      • 609.344 (criminal sexual conduct in the third degree)
      • 609.345 (criminal sexual conduct in the fourth degree)
      • 609.377 (malicious punishment of a child)
      • 609.378 (neglect or endangerment of a child)
      • 609.486 (commission of crime while wearing or possessing a bullet-resistant vest)
      • 609.52 (involving theft of a firearm, theft involving the intentional taking or driving of a motor vehicle without the consent of the owner or authorized agent of the owner, theft involving the taking of property from a burning, abandoned, or vacant building, or from an area of destruction caused by civil disaster, riot, bombing, or the proximity of battle, and theft involving the theft of a controlled substance, an explosive, or an incendiary device)
      • 609.561 (arson in the first degree)
      • 609.562 (arson in the second degree)
      • 609.582, subdivision 1, 2, or 3 (burglary in the first through third degrees)
      • 609.66, subdivision 1e (drive-by shooting)
      • 609.67 (unlawfully owning, possessing, operating a machine gun or short-barreled shotgun)
      • 609.71 (riot)
      • 609.713 (terroristic threats)
      • 609.749 (stalking)
      • 609.855, subdivision 5 (shooting at a public transit vehicle or facility); and chapter 152 (drugs, controlled substances); and an attempt to commit any of these offenses.
    • Judicial determination that the person is:
      • Mentally ill
      • Developmentally disabled
      • Danger to the public
      • “as defined in section 253B.02, to a treatment facility”, which means that if you have been put into a treatment facility for chemical dependency, then the law sees you as “being incapable of self-management or management of personal affairs by reason of the habitual and excessive use of alcohol, drugs, or other mind-altering substances; and (b) whose recent conduct as a result of habitual and excessive use of alcohol, drugs, or other mind-altering substances poses a substantial likelihood of physical harm to self or others as demonstrated by (i) a recent attempt or threat to physically harm self or others, (ii) evidence of recent serious physical problems, or (iii) a failure to obtain necessary food, clothing, shelter, or medical care.” In other words, if you are committed to a treatment facility by the court, you stand a good chance that your application for a Minnesota Permit to Carry license will be denied because you could be considered “incapable of self-management“. Since the 2nd DUI requires you to attend treatment, then you should consider yourself “on the fence” if you have 2 or more DUIs in the past 10 years and you want to apply for a Minnesota Permit to Carry license. Completing treatment will help you in your quest to get your license, but it is no guarantee, as the law states: “Property rights may not be abated by access may be restricted by the courts.”
    • Ever been found incompetent to stand trial
    • Ever been found not guilty by reason of mental illness
    • Convicted in any court of a crime punishable by imprisonment for a term exceeding one year
    • Fugitive from justice
    • Unlawful use of any controlled substance
    • Alien who is illegally or unlawfully in the United States
    • Dishonorable discharge
    • Renounced your citizenship from the United States
    • Conviction of Gross misdemeanor level, unless three years have elapsed since the date of conviction and, during that time, you have not been convicted of any other violation of these sections:
  • 624.719; Non-resident alien
  • 629.715, subdivision 2; Court-ordered surrender of firearms
  • 629.72, subdivision 2; Court-ordered surrender of firearms as a condition of release and/or bail

If you “connect the dots” on these laws, chances are good that if you have only one DUI and especially if it’s an old one, then you’ll probably not be denied a permit to carry license. By the 4th DUI, you’ve committed a felony and you’ll spend more than one year in jail, so that will ensure your permit application is denied.

When you take a long step back and look at the situation, the legislature basically said that if you demonstrate violent tendencies or an inability to control yourself around chemicals, then you don’t get to own a firearm. In our opinion, this is good law. Basically, if you’re convicted of anything that requires a year or more in jail or any crime of violence (whether or not it results in a felony conviction), then you’re not going to get a Minnesota Permit to Carry license. Don’t bother taking a CCW class or a Minnesota Permit to Carry class. It won’t do you any good.

After reading this article, if you have further questions about obtaining a Minnesota Permit to Carry license, then you should consult with a lawyer. Also, if you think you can go around Minnesota State Law and get another permit from another state, such as the Utah Conceal Carry permit, then bear in mind that most states that issue non-resident permits will ask for a copy of your Minnesota Permit to Carry license.

Tueller Drill 25 years later

Dennis Tueller has become famous in self-defense circles for his work on answering the question “How close it too close?” His article, first published in 1983 in S.W.A.T. magazine, became a foundational work against which many thousands have been trained under what was coined the 21 Foot Rule. It really never was a 21-foot rule from Tueller’s viewpoint: “The term “21-foot Rule” was not one I used. In the article, I talked about recognizing the danger zone, and about using cover or at least obstacles to slow an attacker.”

“The term “21-foot Rule” was not one I used”, said Dennis Tueller in a recent interview with the Armed Citizens Legal Defense Network, a group that supports Network members in their interaction with the criminal justice system after an act of self-defense as well as educating their members about the legalities of using deadly force in self-defense and what to expect from the criminal justice system after defending themselves. “I still think the “21-foot rule” is a poor use of terminology. Why not a call it a “rule”? Because words have meaning in the context in which we use them. What do you think of when you hear the word “rule?” “Follow the rules…” “Don’t break the rules…” “That is a violation of the rules…” In that context, the “21-Foot Rule” could be incorrectly interpreted to require you to shoot someone who is fifteen feet away and brandishing a knife. Conversely, it could be erroneously inferred that “the rule” prohibits the shooting of this same would-be slasher if he is 24 feet and nine inches away. This may be over-stating the case, but I don’t think so, as I have heard people express both of these views when discussing the subject.”

Totality of Circumstances Drive Use-of-Force Decisions

For us law-abiding citizens who carry our firearms concealed, the time and distance scenarios we face cannot be neatly put in a 21-foot box. Especially here in Minnesota, added layers of clothing in the winter increase the amount of time required to access a firearm, which means that the “bubble” increases proportionally. In addition to proximity, variables that determine imminent may include “the physical size and condition of both the aggressor and the defender, the presence of obstacles, cover, bystanders, partners, the terrain, footing, lighting, environment, holster type (high-security holsters take longer to clear than low security holsters), [and so forth]. All of these factors combine to create the “totality of circumstances” which will drive our use-of-force decisions.” In our Minnesota Permit to Carry class, we teach a minimum 32-foot rule, but we also explain that other variables might exist to extend this to longer distances, depending on the exact scenario. We can envision a scenario in which 30 or more yards would still be “imminent” if a certain mix of circumstances where present. For example, consider the man who was harassed and eventually beaten nearly to death on a New York interstate. It seems to me that being boxed-in by ~ 30 motorcyclists would significantly increase the distance in which an imminent danger existed and thus drive a use-of-force scenario.

Movement Matters Too

“Speaking only for myself,” says Tueller, “I think being able to move then shoot, shoot and then move again is tremendously important. So is moving when you see a potential threat, so you are not standing where the attack was directed. That way you can get inside your adversary’s reaction time, forcing him to react to what you are doing.” Tueller is right: in the heat of the moment, movement provides you a tactical advantage in that the threat must react to your movement. It also has the added advantage of keeping your wits about you during the shooting. If you’re moving, then shooting, moving again, then shooting, it seems that you have to think more intentionally about what you’re doing, which will help you handle the stress better and help you be a bit more thoughtful about your actions. If you’re making real-time decisions instead of just reacting, that helps you do a better job of managing yourself during the stressful event.

Most people don’t practice moving as a self-defense tactic. They just practice hitting a target in a well-lit room with even temperatures. But most self-defense shootings don’t occur in such sterile environments. This is why getting to an outdoor range where you can practice movement is so important.

Stepping Back is Good Movement Too

Says Tueller: “I wanted to sell the idea of taking a single big step back as you draw – to gain a bit more distance from your attacker – as an acceptable technique. Of course I’ve come to realize that if one step back is good, six or eight are better if you can maintain control and move smoothly.” Stepping back creates distance. Distances often increases your safety as well as forcing the attacker to respond to you. In our Minnesota Permit to Carry course, stepping back is highly recommended as a way to increase safety and yet maintain control of the situation and yourself.

Being Alert is Your Number One Tool

More than your firearm, being alerts to potential dangers is your best form of self-defense. In our Minnesota Permit to Carry class, we teach that the only conflict you cannot lose is the one you never engage in. So conflict avoidance is one of the first topics we discuss. We don’t care if you lose all dignity to avoid the confrontation. Lose your dignity. Engaging in a confrontation with potentially deadly consequences is a scenario we hope we never experience and never want to see occur. We don’t rejoice in the death of anyone – even an attacker. The use of deadly force is and must be a last resort – after verbal commands, retreat (when reasonable), brandishing and other, less lethal options.

“You need to believe it can happen to you. You need to recognize dangers in your vicinity, trust your feelings, and act based on your knowledge, experience and training”, said Tueller. We agree.

Armed Citizen in Maine, Ohio and California

Take a look at these three recent reports of law-abiding citizens defending themselves.  This is one of the reasons we have the 2nd Amendment and one of the reasons we’re in business:  we believe in the cause and right of self-defense.  While we do not rejoice in the death of anyone, we also recognize each person’s right to defend themselves.

All three of these stories occur inside the person’s home.  But this doesn’t negate the need for training in the use of a firearm and for familiarity on the legal ramifications of using that firearm.  Consider our Minnesota Permit to Carry class as the first logical step in your journey to defend yourself.

Read the stories here.