ST. PAUL, Minn. (KMSP) - A record number of handgun carry permits were issued in Minnesota in 2016, according to the annual report released Wednesday by the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension. Minnesota sheriffs reported to the BCA that 73,880 permits were applied for in 2016 and 71,156 permits were issued.
This is the highest number of handgun carry permits issued in a single year since the Minnesota Legislature passed gun permit laws in 2003. The second highest number issued was in 2013. As of today, the total number of valid permits in Minnesota is 265,728.
Nicole Stewart, general manager of Stock and Barrel Gun Club in Chanhassen, said they see up to 22 people a week in their permit to carry classes.
“If they’re doing it the right way and they’re following the steps, it’s a good thing to have to protect yourself,” she said.
Gun control advocates in Minnesota tend to agree-- with Protect Minnesota and Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America both telling Fox 9 they support responsible gun ownership.
“As long as they are safe and responsible and are trained and vetted...that’s a right, we’ll back that right up,” said Jeff Gigler of Protect Minnesota.
In an email statement, Erin Zamoff, a volunteer with the Minnesota chapter of Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America, said, “This common-sense safety standard protects all of us, and as last year’s numbers show, it doesn’t prevent responsible gun owners from carrying handguns.”
But both Zamoff and Gigler worry about proposed legislation that would weaken Minnesota gun laws.
“There’s two bills right now that are basically saying no you don’t have to get a permit, you can simply carry a gun,” said Gigler in reference to HR 188 and HR 309. Neither proposal has yet to receive a hearing.
Handgun carry permits issued in Minnesota since 2012
The top 5 counties for 5-year permits issued by sheriffs in 2016 are: Hennepin (8,729), Anoka (4,869), Dakota (4,705), Washington (4,355) and Ramsey (4,181).
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According to the BCA report, there were 122 permits suspended, 56 revoked and 658 denied in 2016. Permit holders committed 1,495 crimes in 2016, with more than 80 percent of those crimes being DWIs or other traffic violations.
Minnesota Permit to Carry Law
Minnesota’s Personal Protection Act was enacted in 2003, and 5-year permits were first eligible for renewal in 2008. To obtain a Minnesota permit to carry, you must apply for the permit at your local sheriff’s office and provide proof of approved firearms training. Sheriffs then must follow a process defined by state law that includes checking FBI, BCA and DHS records as well as their own data for any disqualifying information. Applicants who are denied a permit have the right to appeal the denial.
Law enforcement agencies must report their gun permit applications, issuances and denials to the BCA. The BCA compiles the public information provided by Minnesota law enforcement agencies into its annual report.
GET THE FULL REPORT – The complete report is available for viewing by going to the BCA Website at bca.dps.mn.gov, selecting Statistics/Reports and then Permit to Carry.