Law

Can You Carry a Gun in Your Vehicle in Minnesota?

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The short answer is yes; but with certain qualifications.

The United States is supposed to be the land of the free. As such, many Americans get very threatened when laws seem to infringe upon any of their constitutional rights. America was founded on the basic principles that we shall have freedom of speech, freedom of religion, freedom of press and the controversial right to bear arms.

Unfortunately, tragedies such as gang violence, school shootings, mass shootings and children accidentally shooting themselves has created a call to action for the government to increase gun regulations over time.

Hunters in particular take issue with these increased regulations. The issue becomes especially difficult since people who hunt tend to have to travel to another territory and bring firearms in their vehicle.

Second Amendment Rights

The second amendment states, “A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a Free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.”

This simple line in the United States constitution has sprouted decades of controversy over any type of gun regulation. The Supreme Court has spent the last seventy years or so debating the intended scope of the second amendment. However, each decision seems to swing one way and then another.

In general, gun regulation is deferred to the states and is very state specific.

Minnesota Gun Regulation

In Minnesota, you must obtain a permit to carry a firearm on or near your body unless you are on your own property, at your place of business, or engaged in lawful hunting activities. (Mn. Stat. Ann. § 624.714.)

Unlike states like New York: Minnesota does not distinguish between open or concealed carry for the purposes of obtaining a handgun permit.

The state of Minnesota prohibits transporting a firearm in a motor vehicle unless the firearm is unloaded and either (1) fully secured in a gun case expressly made for that purpose, where the case is zipped, snapped, buckled, tied, or otherwise fastened, or (2) in the closed trunk of the motor vehicle. (Mn. Stat. Ann. § 97B.045)

What the Law Means

A citizen of Minnesota may carry a gun in their vehicle if they have a handgun permit, the gun is unloaded AND either in a case or in a trunk. The case must also be “expressly made” for holding a gun (a gun in a suitcase or purse would not be legal).  The case must also be securely fastened.

This can be a difficult issue in cases where a person has a gun rack in their vehicle or wants to carry a gun in the glove compartment.

According to the express and limited wording of the statute in Minnesota; it would be illegal to carry a gun in a vehicle in either of these situations even if the gun is unloaded.

Opponents may argue that an unloaded gun for the purpose of hunting that is fastened in a gun rack should be considered safe. Yet the statute definitely makes clear that the gun must be in a gun case and that gun case must be securely fastened.

If a person is ticketed for carrying a gun, outside of a case and in the course of legally hunting; then a knowledgeable gun rights attorney could very likely still get the charges reduced or dropped.

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