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Definition of Assault Weapon

Minnesota does not generally ban assault weapons, but has adopted a series of statutes regulating the possession and sale of certain “semiautomatic military-style assault weapons.” A firearm is considered a semiautomatic military-style assault weapon if it is on the list of over two dozen named types of regulated firearms,1 or is another model of a listed firearm, is made by the same manufacturer as the listed firearm, has the same action design, and

  • Is a redesigned, renamed, or renumbered version
  • Has a slight modification or enhancement (such as a folding or retractable stock; adjustable sight; case deflector for left-handed shooters; shorter barrel; wooden, plastic, or metal stock; larger clip size; different caliber; or a bayonet mount).2

Moreover, a firearm is also classified as a semiautomatic military-style assault weapon if it was manufactured or sold under a licensing agreement with a manufacturer of one of the listed firearms to manufacture or sell firearms that are identical or nearly identical to a listed firearm or a firearm described above.3

A firearm that is generally recognized as “particularly suitable or readily adaptable to sporting purposes” or any of its regulations is not a semiautomatic military-style assault weapon.4

In addition, Minnesota’s Bureau of Criminal Apprehension is required to publish a list of firearms included within the definition of semiautomatic military-style assault weapon. The Bureau is required to update the list annually.5

Regulations of Assault Weapons

In 2023, Minnesota extended the waiting period for assault weapon purchases from federally licensed dealers from seven days to 30 days (effective August 1, 2023).6

Minnesota prohibits the possession of semiautomatic military-style assault weapons by persons who are under 18 years of age.7 Such persons may carry or possess a semiautomatic military-style assault weapon only:

  • In the actual presence or under the direct supervision of a parent or guardian;
  • For the purposes of a military drill while under competent supervision, under the auspices of a legally recognized military organization;
  • For instruction, competition or target practice under direct supervision on a law enforcement-approved firing range; or
  • Upon successful completion of a course designed to teach marksmanship and safety with a handgun or semiautomatic military-style assault weapon and approved by the state commissioner of natural resources.8

A person charged with a crime punishable by more than one year imprisonment may not receive, ship, or transport a semiautomatic military-style assault weapon.9

As of August 1, 2023, Minnesota will require semiautomatic military-style assault weapon purchasers to obtain a transferee permit unless the purchaser is purchasing from or transacting the sale through a federally licensed dealer.10 Certain transfers between immediate family members and temporary transfers are exempt from this requirement.11 A concealed carry permit constitutes a transferee permit for the purpose of purchasing an assault weapon.12

With certain limited exceptions, if a person wishes to acquire a semiautomatic military-style assault weapon from a federally licensed dealer, but does not have a transferee permit or a permit to carry a handgun, the dealer must file a report with the police chief or sheriff, who then performs a background check.13 See Background Checks in Minnesota for further information.

A person commits a gross misdemeanor if he or she intentionally transfers a semiautomatic military-style assault weapon to a person he or she knows:

  • Has been denied a permit to carry a weapon because the transferee is not eligible under Minnesota law to possess an assault weapon; or
  • Has been found ineligible to possess an assault weapon by law enforcement as a result of an application for a transferee permit or transfer report.14


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  1. Minn. Stat. § 624.712, subd. 7(1) lists more than two dozen named types of firearms that are considered “semiautomatic military-style assault weapons.”[]
  2. Minn. Stat. § 624.712, subd. 7(2).[]
  3. Minn. Stat. § 624.712, subd. 7(3). An exception exists for licensing agreements entered into before August 1, 1993, the effective date of the statute.[]
  4. 18 U.S.C. § 925(d)(3).[]
  5. Minn. Stat. § 624.712, subd. 8.[]
  6. Minn. Stat. § 624.7132, subd. 4.[]
  7. Minn. Stat. § 624.713, subd. 1(1).[]
  8. Id.[]
  9. Minn. Stat. § 624.713, subd. 1a.[]
  10. Minn. Stat. § 624.7134, subds. 2 and 3.[]
  11. Id. at subd. 7.[]
  12. Minn. Stat. § 624.7131, subd. 9.[]
  13. Minn. Stat. § 624.7132, subd. 1, subd. 2; see also Minn. Stat. § 624.7132, subd. 12 (exempting transfers from non-dealers from this requirement).[]
  14. Minn. Stat. § 624.7141, subd. 1.[]