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The right to bear arms is a fundamental aspect of our culture and legal framework in the United States. However, firearm regulations, like many laws, vary widely from state to state.

For Minnesota residents who want to exercise their Second Amendment right, navigating the state’s gun laws can feel like being stuck in a corn maze. A common question is, what do the terms “open carry” and “concealed carry” mean?

Understanding the difference between open carry and concealed carry is crucial for individuals who want to stay compliant with Minnesota gun laws.

We break down these concepts below, helping to keep you on the right side of the law. If you have questions, please contact our firearm crimes lawyer today.

An Overview of Minnesota Gun Laws

The Minnesota Citizens’ Personal Protection Act details Minnesota’s gun laws. Under this act, individuals must obtain a Permit to Carry (PTC) to purchase or carry a handgun in public.

Interestingly, the Act doesn’t specify whether the weapon must be concealed, offering flexibility for gun owners. Whether you opt for open or concealed carry, you’ll need a PTC.

For Example, Sarah, a responsible gun owner, understands that whether she chooses to carry her handgun in plain sight or conceal it beneath her jacket, obtaining a Permit to Carry is required under state law.

Permit to Carry Eligibility

To be eligible for a permit to carry in Minnesota, you must meet the following criteria:

  • Be at least 21 years old,
  • Not be prohibited from owning firearms under federal or Minnesota law,
  • Not be listed in the gang investigation system,
  • Be a Minnesota resident applying in your county,
  • Have completed authorized firearms safety training within the past year, and
  • Complete the application form.

You will also need to pass an extensive background check. If there is reason to believe that you pose a substantial likelihood of risk to yourself or others if granted a carry permit, your application may be denied.

Open Carry vs. Concealed Carry: Explained

Open carry and concealed carry are the two most common means of carrying weapons in public places. Both options require a valid Minnesota carry permit received after completing an authorized firearm training class, a background check, and the payment of a fee.

Choosing between open and concealed carry is largely based on your personal preference and comfort level. The main distinction is how the firearm is carried and if it is visible to others.

Open Carry in Minnesota

Open carry is the open or outright display of a firearm in public, whether holstered or carried in plain view.

Take Rebecca, a responsible gun owner who prefers to openly carry her pistol while strolling through the park.

Open Carry Restrictions

While open carry is generally permitted in Minnesota, it is subject to certain restrictions.

There are locations where firearms are prohibited, whether open or concealed, such as schools, government institutions, private property with signs prohibiting guns, and establishments that serve alcohol.

Violating these restrictions can lead to criminal charges and penalties.

Minnesota’s Open Carry Laws for Rifles and Long Guns

Although less common, Minnesota allows rifles and long guns to be carried openly in most public places, with a valid PTC. Local laws and ordinances should also be taken into consideration.

Imagine Jim, an avid hunter, openly carrying his gun on his way to his favorite hunting area in rural Minnesota. While Jim may be within his rights, in rural areas, the open carrying of his rifle in a bustling downtown area may be restricted.

Concealed Carry in Minnesota

Concealed carry involves keeping your firearm hidden from sight, typically tucked away in a holster beneath your clothing or within a bag. In Minnesota, concealed carry is available to anyone with a valid PTC. It has the same restrictions as open carry.

Crossing State Lines with Your Firearm

Are you planning to take your firearm with you on vacation? Hold on. When traveling with firearms, be mindful of reciprocity laws. 

Reciprocity is a legal arrangement in which states recognize one another’s concealed carry permits. Carry permits issued in Minnesota might be accepted in certain states but not others.

If you’re visiting Minnesota, the state recognizes permits from states with similar or more stringent requirements for issuing permits. Some of these states include Alaska, Michigan, and South Carolina.

It’s crucial to be aware of and comply with the laws of the state you’re visiting because breaking them could lead to criminal charges and penalties.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I Openly Carry a Handgun Without a Permit in Minnesota?

Open carry without a valid permit to carry is illegal, with very limited exceptions. One exception is when an individual is on their own private property.

What Type of Training Is Required for a Permit to Carry in Minnesota?

Applicants must complete a safety course approved by the Bureau of Criminal Apprehension.

How Long Is My Minnesota Carry Permit Valid?

Your Minnesota carry permit is valid for five years from the date of issue.

Can I Carry a Concealed Firearm in My Vehicle?

Yes, you can carry a concealed firearm in your vehicle, snowmobile, or boat with a valid permit. If you do not have a permit, you can only transport an unloaded and cased firearm in your vehicle if it is not within your immediate reach.

What Should I Do If I’m Facing a Gun Charge in Minnesota?

In Minnesota, firearm offenses have harsh penalties, including fines and jail time. If you are facing a gun charge, contact a criminal defense attorney as soon as possible.

Having an experienced lawyer examine all aspects of your case and prepare a strong defense can make all the difference.

Looking for Guidance on Minnesota Gun Laws? We Can Help

Whether you are facing gun-related charges or need assistance understanding Minnesota’s complicated gun regulations, the skilled attorneys of Arechigo & Stokka are here to help.

We have extensive knowledge of the state’s gun laws and can advise you on lawfully exercising your rights while avoiding any potential issues.

Our team of recognized criminal defense attorneys is proud of our client-centered strategy—giving each client tailored attention and personalized legal guidance. Contact us today for a confidential consultation.

Author Photo John T. Arechigo, Esq.

Attorney John Arechigo has a passion for criminal defense in St. Paul, MN. John received his J.D., from Hamline University School of Law and also carries a Bachelor of Arts from, The University of Minnesota. John was named Attorney of the Year for 2019 by Minnesota Lawyer. Additionally, John was also named as a 2019 Rising Star and was selected to Minnesota Super Lawyers in 2021. He devotes nearly 100% of his practice to defending individuals charged with a crime.

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