Thursday, July 24, 2008

Suppressor Law in MN

As a firearms enthusiast and resident of the great state of Minnesota, I believe it is past time we reconsider our state's stance on the use of firearm suppressors. Current law stands as such(view full law):
Subd. 1a. Felony crimes; silencers prohibited; reckless discharge. (a) Except as otherwise provided in subdivision 1h, whoever does any of the following is guilty of a felony and may be sentenced as provided in paragraph (b):
(1) sells or has in possession any device designed to silence or muffle the discharge of a firearm;
...
Subd. 1h. Silencers; authorized for law enforcement and wildlife control purposes. (a)
Notwithstanding subdivision 1a, paragraph (a), clause (1), licensed peace officers may use devices designed to silence or muffle the discharge of a firearm for tactical emergency response operations. Tactical emergency response operations include execution of high risk search and arrest warrants, incidents of terrorism, hostage rescue, and any other tactical deployments involving high risk circumstances. The chief law enforcement officer of a law enforcement agency that has the need to
use silencing devices must establish and enforce a written policy governing the use of the devices.
(b) Notwithstanding subdivision 1a, paragraph (a), clause (1), until July 1, 2011, an
enforcement officer, as defined in section 97A.015, subdivision 18, a wildlife area manager, an employee designated under section 84.0835, or a person acting under contract with the commissioner of natural resources, at specific times and locations that are authorized by the commissioner of natural resources may use devices designed to silence or muffle the discharge of a firearm for wildlife control operations that require stealth. If the commissioner determines that the use of silencing devices is necessary under this paragraph, the commissioner must:
(1) establish and enforce a written policy governing the use, possession, and transportation of the devices;
(2) limit the number of the silencing devices maintained by the Department of Natural Resources to no more than ten; and
(3) keep direct custody and control of the devices when the devices are not specifically authorized for use.
Subd. 2. Exceptions. Nothing in this section prohibits the possession of the articles
mentioned by museums or collectors of art or for other lawful purposes of public exhibition.
Silencers, suppressors, mufflers or whatever you want to call them are legal to own and operate in 36 of the 50 states with the appropriate tax stamps and forms from the BATFE.

Keep in mind that Minnesota law allows for the possession of destructive devices (grenades, launchers, AT-4s, etc.), short-barreled shotguns, and short-barreled rifles.

Suppressors are the only NFA items that Minnesotans are not allowed to own.

Also keep in mind that there has never in United States history been a prosecuted crime committed with a lawfully-owned suppressor.

Suppressors have many benefits, such as lowering noise pollution from gun ranges, increasing the effectiveness of firearm safety courses by allowing the instructors to communicate with students without yelling to be heard, and allowing night-time varmint hunters to hunt coyotes without waking the neighbors.

Hollywood has done a tremendous job of exaggerating the effectiveness of suppressors. We've all seen the movie where the bad guys are running around with silenced machine guns, shooting at the good guy with every shot whisper-quiet.

The truth is that suppressors are much less effective than movies lead us to believe, bringing a painful report down to a level where enthusiasts can fire without ear protection.

The shooting starts around 2:50.

No, no one absolutely needs a suppressor. But then again, no one needs a Corvette or a pool in their backyard. The ability to possess something should not be dictated by need in a capitalist democracy such as ours.

UPDATE: Suppressors are now legal to own in Minnesota for police departments, military units and Federal Firearms Licensees who sell to these organizations. A step in the right direction, says I.

Also, if you have the large amounts of cashola lying around and really, really want a suppressor, you can become a Class III FFL holder and keep suppressors in your 'inventory'.

20 comments:

Anonymous said...

where do we sign up? I live in WA and my wife wants to move back to MN. I would prefer MN change the law. Are full auto legal? You mentioned that the only NFA not allowed were silencers. But your list did not include Full Auto...
Maybe I'll look around. also other sites just list 34 states. Should be all 57 states if you know who gets elected. ;-)

Adam said...

Most states allow citizens to legally possess full-auto weapons if certain standards are met. The weapon itself needs to have been registered to the ATF's MG registry prior to May 19, 1986 and can run between $15,000-$18,000 for a transferrable M16.

Anonymous said...

I am in agreement. So...lets get started with changing the laws.

Anonymous said...

What's the sense in having to buy an overpriced full auto weapon just because it was registered to BATF prior to may 19, 1986? All it does is raise the price of the gun to the law abiding citizen and certainly new auto weapons are no where near that in price(more like 1400.00 for a new hk mp5 and only 3700 for a new FN M249 which is a heck of alot of gun for that kind of money. So again is this just a way of the government making it as difficult as they can for middle class americans to own weapons like these?

Anonymous said...

Need to start a petition. Have sign sheets at all the ranges you shoot at, pool them together and present them to our elected officials. I'm right there with you! The first thing people think about when they hear the word suppressor, is "assassin". When really it does nothing but protect the shooters hearing and cause less of a disruption to people that may live near ranges!

Anonymous said...

Hi there,

Greetings from Namibia. Have your lawmakers ever considered why cars and bikes have mufflers/silencers? Have they ever heard of noise pollution?

For someone (like me) who suffers from acoustic trauma, shooting without a silencer is painful. No, it is not a;ways possible to put on ear protectors before shooting.

WAH

Anonymous said...

Sign me up to get this law changed I went as far as contacting Gov Pawlenty (Twice) and neer got a response.

Anonymous said...

Keep the first Anonymous (dated Fri Sep 26) away from firearms if he really believes there are 7 extra states in the U.S.A. or at least out of the Mid-West!

Adam said...

I believe the original commenter was referring to the gaff the current President made on the campaign trail.

Anonymous said...

I'm with you guys. And I'm a registered Democrat gun owner (which means no one likes me, I guess.)

Say what you will about the President, but it's been a few years and no one has come knocking on my door to take away my guns.

Adam said...

I have several gun-owning Democrat friends that I like just fine. My fiance', for one.

I'll tell you what I tell her: No one's perfect. ;)

IAMCARTMANXD said...

Full auto's are legal but they must be C&R so they have to have been manufactured before 1961. And I'm pretty sure you also cannot have Short Barreled Shotguns. And DD's are restricted to only a few types, I imagine that they are the shotgun DD's that are allowed.

Michael said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Michael said...

I live in Minnesota and agree, You would get a ticket if your car didn't have a muffler, but in Minnesota you can't try to keep the noise down, its illegal! It harder to take the kids to the range, the neighbors complain and sometimes people will call the police. Just because where target shooting with loud noisy guns. A sound suppressor that could cut the noise in half would be awesome!

Anonymous said...

IAMCARTMANXD has it right except there is no certain date, It just has to be on the C+R list. Generally that is 50 years or older but not all. I own an AR18 in MN and it certainly wasn't built before 1961! :)

Also there IS a way to own ALL the transferable machineguns in MN.
Get yourself an ammo manufacturers license. Forget the cost but it's not too unreasonable. There is an exception in MN law as to C+R only for AMMO TESTING.

Wolverton said...

It is now legal in Michigan to own and use suppressors.

BJ said...

I wonder if we could get http://www.gocra-mn.org/ to get on board with this.

allowing suppressors (less noise pollution and ear damage) and auto opening knives (NO offensive advantage DUH... its utilitarian or defensive at best) would be greatness for Minnesotans

::G said...

I'm in SE MN and think it's past time to legalize suppressors in our state. Come on, across the border in WI they can *hunt* using suppressors!

But I wonder if some of us couldn't get together and take advantage of a loophole in the law under Subd 2 "Exceptions": "Nothing in this section prohibits the possession of the articles mentioned by museums or collectors of art or for other lawful purposes of public exhibition." Since Subd 1a specifically bans possession, as the text of the law stands, wouldn't it be legit to have a "suppressor museum"? =D Of course one would have to make sure the MN AG is ok with that reading of the law, so odds are nil, but it'd be amusing if one could get a signoff on it.

Anonymous said...

I have a simple question. If I already own a suppressor from a home in a previous state, how can I not already leagally own it? If I already own it and I'm on my property why can't I use it (there only)?

AnonymousNH

Adam said...

Unfortunately, no. It is illegal in MN to possess a suppressor as a private citizen, even with the BATFE tax stamp and all that entails.

The only authorized owners and users of suppressors in MN are law enforcement agencies, military units, the Department of Natural Resources, and licensed dealers to these agencies.

If you're willing to jump through a lot of hoops (including, i believe, having a physical storefront and a large yearly licensing fee) you may operate a 'law enforcement dealer' business and have 'product demonstrations' when and where you want.