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GOCRA Briefing: Landlords Can’t Ban Carry in Common Areas

Mall of America sign

Mall of America sign. Wikipedia photo by Joe Chill 2

The Mall of America has been in the news recently, after it was named as a possible target of an attack by al-Shabaab terrorists1. The group claimed responsibility for a 2013 attack on the Westgate Mall in Nairobi, Kenya, in which 63 shoppers were killed and over 175 more were injured by four terrorists armed with grenades and rifles.2

Mall management continues to insist that it retains the right to ban visitors from legally carrying pistols into the mall.3 An analysis of Minnesota law reveals that they are mistaken: the law precludes the mall from banning legal carry.

Private Businesses Can Ban Carry – Sometimes

The Minnesota Citizens Personal Protection Act of 20034 allows certain types of private entities to remove individuals carrying under the terms of the law:

Subd. 17. Posting; trespass. (a) A person carrying a firearm on or about his or her person or clothes under a permit or otherwise who remains at a private establishment knowing that the operator of the establishment or its agent has made a reasonable request that firearms not be brought into the establishment may be ordered to leave the premises. A person who fails to leave when so requested is guilty of a petty misdemeanor.5

The statute goes on to define in great detail the form that the notification and request must take, including the placement and content of signs, means of verbal notification, and some special exclusions.

Landlords Can’t Ban Carry!

One of those exclusions relates directly to landlords, who are specifically barred from restricting lawful carry:

(e) A landlord may not restrict the lawful carry or possession of firearms by tenants or their guests.6

Landlords are also barred from attempting an end-run around the statute:

(f) Notwithstanding any inconsistent provisions in section 609.605, this subdivision sets forth the exclusive criteria to notify a permit holder when otherwise lawful firearm possession is not allowed in a private establishment and sets forth the exclusive penalty for such activity.

No Absurd Results

Minnesota law provides very clear instructions for interpretation of its various provisions:

645.17 PRESUMPTIONS IN ASCERTAINING LEGISLATIVE INTENT.
(1) the legislature does not intend a result that is absurd, impossible of execution, or unreasonable;
(2) the legislature intends the entire statute to be effective and certain;7
<…>

A prohibition on carry in common areas would effectively prevent tenants and their guests from reaching the tenant spaces. This is the quintessential definition of an “absurd, impossible of execution” result that renders a portion of the law meaningless, in contradiction of the Legislature’s intent for “…the entire statute to be effective….”

Because carry cannot be prohibited in the tenants’ private spaces, carry cannot be banned in the common areas required to reach those spaces.

 

This analysis is provided as general information, but it is not legal advice. Individual circumstances may result in different legal outcomes. If you plan to visit the Mall of America while carrying, given the mall’s repeated declarations that they have the power to ban guns in common areas of the mall, you should consult an attorney licensed in Minnesota.

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1 Google News: “Mall of America” “Al-Shabaab” (https://www.google.com/search?q=”mall+of+america”+”al-shabaab”)
2 “Westgate shopping mall attack,” Wikipedia. Retrieved Feb. 24, 2015 (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Westgate_shopping_mall_attack)
3 “Security Information,” Mall of America Web site. Retrieved Feb. 24, 2015 (http://www.mallofamerica.com/guests/security)
4 2003 Minnesota Session Laws, Chapter 28-S.F.No. 842 (https://www.revisor.mn.gov/laws/?id=28&year=2003&type=0)
5 Minnesota Statutes 2014, Chapter 624.714, Subd. 17 (https://www.revisor.mn.gov/statutes/?id=624.714#stat.624.714.17)
6 Ibid, paragraph (e)
7 Ibid, paragraph (f)
8 Minnesota Statutes 2014, Chapter 645.17 (https://www.revisor.mn.gov/statutes/?id=645.17)

GOCRA Briefing: Long Gun Purchase in Non-Contiguous States

House File 830 (Lucero)/Senate File 900 (Schmit) eliminates an outdated paperwork requirement that exposes permit holders to an inadvertent felony charge while costing the state money for no reason.

It legal for a Minnesotan to buy a rifle or shotgun in any state

Under both federal and Minnesota law, it is legal for a Minnesotan to buy a “long gun” in any state. Unfortunately, the state law is confusing to read, because it is based on a federal law that changed 29 years ago.

 

Federal Law – 1968

The federal Gun Control Act of 1968[1] restricted sales of long guns to persons who lived in the state where the gun was sold. It also allowed the sale to residents of contiguous states – states touching the seller’s state – as long as the transaction weren’t forbidden under either state’s law.

 

Minnesota Law – 1969

No Minnesota law barred such a sale, so in 1969, the Minnesota Legislature passed a law[2] to clearly confirm that such a sale was legal. There was no policy change, just an easy-to-read confirmation.

 

Federal Law – 1986

The federal Firearm Owners Protection Act of 1986[3] removed the restriction limiting long gun sales to only contiguous states. This once again allowed a Minnesotan to purchase a long gun in any state in the country.

 

Minnesota’s obsolete law confuses licensed dealers2015-leg-contiguous-1

Federally licensed dealers rely on a 500-page book[4] from the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Explosives (BATFE) which reprints every gun law from every state. In the Minnesota section, a licensed dealer finds the citation to the left.

What started out as a clear, permissive confirmation now appears to a non-lawyer as a limitation to contiguous state sales, although no such limitation exists.

To once again clearly explain existing law, and again without changing policy, changing the words “a contiguous state” to “any state” in this statute would once again ensure that Minnesotans can exercise their constitutional rights.

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[1] Public Law 90-618, October 22, 1968 (http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/STATUTE-82/pdf/STATUTE-82-Pg1213-2.pdf)

[2] H.F. 543, 1969 (https://www.revisor.mn.gov/laws/?id=216&year=1969&type=0), coded as MN Stat. 624.71 (https://www.revisor.mn.gov/statutes/?id=624.71)

[3] Public Law 99-308, May 19, 1986 (http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/STATUTE-100/pdf/STATUTE-100-Pg449.pdf)

[4] State Laws and Published Ordinances — Firearms, 2010 – 2011 — 31st Edition (https://www.atf.gov/publications/firearms/state-laws/31st-edition/index.html)

GOCRA Briefing: Capitol Carry Notification

House File 372 (Nash)/Senate File 953 (Ingebrigtsen) eliminates an outdated paperwork requirement that exposes permit holders to an inadvertent felony charge while costing the state money for no reason.

1974

Following a wave of gun control legislation around the country, Minnesota passes a new ban on the carry of pistols in public places.

Individuals wishing to carry must apply for a “may issue” carry permit, at the discretion of their local police chiefs or sheriffs. These permits are issued directly by the local departments, which hold the only record of these permits.[1]

 

1994

Capitol Area (click to enlarge)

Capitol Area (click to enlarge)


There have been zero cases of carry permit holders causing trouble at the Capitol for the last 20 years.

Rep. Jim Rhodes gets a call from his mother, who worries that Capitol Security has no idea who these permit holders are.

Rhodes introduces a floor amendment[2] that would require these permit holders to notify the Department of Public Safety of their permit status (once) before entering any building in the “Capitol Area.”[3] The Capitol Area is well over the size of 100 city blocks, stretching from five blocks north of University Avenue to the Minnesota History Center.[4]

 

2003

There have still been zero cases of carry permit holders causing trouble at the Capitol in the last 29 years.

The Minnesota Citizens Personal Protection Act is passed[5]. It requires sheriffs to electronically submit all permit holder data to the Commissioner of Public Safety, who was required to create a statewide, 24/7 database of carry permits held[6]. The legislature appropriated $1.2 million[7] to the DPS budget to implement this and other provisions.

2015

There have still been zero cases of carry permit holders causing trouble at the Capitol in the last 41 years.

Permit holders are still required by law to send redundant notification, causing redundant paperwork for DPS staff, and not serving any public safety purpose.

Failing to notice and follow this redundant law and follow the pointless, redundant paperwork steps exposes otherwise law-abiding Minnesotans to felony charges if they enter the Transportation Building, the Capitol, or even the Minnesota History Center, all part of the “Capitol Area” defined in the law.

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[1] 1974 Minnesota Session Laws,  CHAPTER 378-H.F.No. 679 (https://www.revisor.mn.gov/laws/?year=1975&type=0&doctype=Chapter&id=378)

[2] Journal of the House, April 14, 1994, line 7122 (http://www.house.leg.state.mn.us/cco/journals/1994/Journal414.txt)

[3] 1994 Minnesota Session Laws,  CHAPTER 636-H.F.No. 2351 (https://www.revisor.mn.gov/laws/?id=636&year=1994&type=0)

[4] See a visualization of this area at http://tinyurl.com/capitol-area

[5] 2003 Minnesota Session Laws,  CHAPTER 28-S.F.No. 842 (https://www.revisor.leg.state.mn.us/laws/?id=28&doctype=Chapter&year=2003&type=0)

[6] Ibid, Article 2, Sec. 20

[7] Ibid, Article 2, Sec. 31