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Andrew Rothman - Transporting a firearm in your car in Minnesota
Drawing a bead on truth

andrew_rothman
Date: 2009-02-06 23:34
Subject: Transporting a firearm in your car in Minnesota
Security: Public
Mood:pedantic
Tags:guns minnesota carry law transportation
In and out of my Minnesota Permit to Carry a Pistol class, I get asked quite a bit about the laws concerning transporting a gun in your car.

If you have a carry permit, and it's a handgun,and you're in Minnesota, the answer is easy: you can legally have the handgun on you, near you, or anywhere in the vehicle, and it may be loaded or unloaded at your discretion.

But what if you don't (yet) have a permit? First, it's time to register for a class. :) Then, read this:

The carry law, Minnesota Statute 624.714, pertains only to handguns:

Subd. 9.Carrying pistols about one's premises or for purposes of repair, target practice.

A permit to carry is not required of a person:

<...>

(5) to transport a pistol in a motor vehicle, snowmobile or boat if the pistol is unloaded, contained in a closed and fastened case, gunbox, or securely tied package.


Oddly, while a gun wrapped in newspaper and tied with twine is probably in compliance with this law, one in a fastened purse is not:

http://tinyurl.com/mnguntransport

STATE OF MINNESOTA
IN COURT OF APPEALS
C5-98-1180

State of Minnesota,
Respondent,

vs.

Phyllis Eugenia Taylor,
Appellant.

Filed May 18, 1999
Affirmed
Willis, Judge

Hennepin County District Court
File No. 97070100

<...>

S Y L L A B U S

The statutory exception to the requirement of a permit to possess a pistol in a motor vehicle that allows an unloaded pistol to be carried in a “case” refers to a gun case and does not extend to a purse.


You can read the whole thing, of course.

Long guns are governed under a Minnesota hunting law, Minnesota Statute 97B.045:

A person may not transport a firearm in a motor vehicle unless the firearm is:

(1) unloaded and in a gun case expressly made to contain a firearm, and the case fully encloses the firearm by being zipped, snapped, buckled, tied, or otherwise fastened, and without any portion of the firearm exposed;

(2) unloaded and in the closed trunk of a motor vehicle; or

(3) a handgun carried in compliance with sections 624.714 and 624.715.


A common misconception among law enforcement and gun shop commandos is that the gun must be in the trunk or the rear of the vehicle. The source of this confusion is a federal law, the Firearms Owners' Protection (sic) Act of 1986, 18 USC 926A, which provides "safe passage" immunity from state and local law while you're just passing through:

Sec. 926A. Interstate transportation of firearms

Notwithstanding any other provision of any law or any rule or
regulation of a State or any political subdivision thereof, any person
who is not otherwise prohibited by this chapter from transporting,
shipping, or receiving a firearm shall be entitled to transport a
firearm for any lawful purpose from any place where he may lawfully
possess and carry such firearm to any other place where he may lawfully
possess and carry such firearm if, during such transportation the
firearm is unloaded, and neither the firearm nor any ammunition being
transported is readily accessible or is directly accessible from the
passenger compartment of such transporting vehicle: Provided, That in
the case of a vehicle without a compartment separate from the driver's
compartment the firearm or ammunition shall be contained in a locked
container other than the glove compartment or console.


That federal law is a protection against local laws. It does not bind localities to its provisions. Minnesota offers the same protection regardless of the location of the unloaded, cased gun.

There are some more subtleties to cover: blood alcohol content, the presence of prohibited persons and those without carry permits, and the meaning of "carry" and "public place," but I need to save something for next time.

Have any questions? Visit Minnesota Gun Training by Andrew Rothman and ask!

Hat tip to author Dave Matheny for asking this very good question most recently, at my favorite firearms forum, Forum.TwinCitiesCarry.com.
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