Effective August 1, 2023, Minnesota has partially closed the background check loophole by requiring handgun and semiautomatic military-style assault weapon purchasers to obtain a transferee permit that includes a background check unless they are buying from a licensed gun dealer–––gun dealers are required by federal law to perform background checks on all gun purchasers.1 If both parties to the transaction are unlicensed, they may facilitate the sale through a federally licensed gun dealer.2 A concealed carry permit constitutes a transferee permit for the purpose of purchasing a handgun or assault weapon.3 Certain transfers between immediate family members and temporary transfers are exempt from this requirement.4 See Licensing in Minnesota for more information about the criteria to obtain a transferee permit.
Transfers of non-military style semiautomatic long guns between private individuals are not subject to a background check, however.
A pre-existing provision of Minnesota law also provides that a person other than a federally licensed dealer who transfers a handgun or semiautomatic military-style assault weapon without complying with state background check requirements is criminally liable for a gross misdemeanor if the transferee possesses or uses the firearm within one year after the transfer in furtherance of a felony crime of violence, and:
- The transferee was prohibited from possessing the weapon under Minnesota law at the time of the transfer; or
- It was reasonably foreseeable at the time of the transfer that the transferee was likely to use or possess the weapon in furtherance of a felony crime of violence.5
In addition, a person commits a gross misdemeanor if he or she intentionally transfers a handgun or semiautomatic military-style assault weapon to a person he or she knows:
- Has been denied a permit to carry a weapon because he or she is not eligible under state law to possess a handgun or assault weapon;
- Has been found ineligible to possess a handgun or assault weapon by law enforcement as a result of an application for a transferee permit or state background check; or
- Is ineligible to possess a handgun or assault weapon under state law.6
A person who recklessly furnishes another person with a firearm in conscious disregard of a known substantial risk that it will be possessed or used in furtherance of a felony crime of violence is criminally liable for a felony.7
See Minimum Age to Purchase or Possess Firearms in Minnesota and Ammunition Regulation in Minnesota for laws prohibiting private sales of firearms or ammunition to minors.
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- Minn. Stat. § 624.7134, subd. 2.
- Id. at subd. 3.
- Minn. Stat. § 624.7131, subd. 9.
- Id. at subd. 7.
- Minn. Stat. § 609.66, subd. 1f.
- Minn. Stat. § 624.7141. An offense under this statute is a felony if within one year the transferee uses or possesses the firearm in furtherance of a felony crime of violence.
- Minn. Stat. § 609.66, subd. 1c.