Archive for the ‘Firearms’ Category

BB guns are not firearms – MN Court of Appeals follows Supremes

Monday, November 14th, 2016

Last month, the Minnesota Supreme Court reversed a felony conviction holding that air-powered BB guns not firearms for purposes of the possession of firearms statute. Today, the Minnesota Court of Appeals in Lue Yang followed the Supreme Court, extending the reasonable and rational definition of a firearm to the ‘Ineligible Persons’ firearm statute, prohibiting the possession of guns for certain people, and reversed a conviction for the possession of a BB gun.

Although this decision is the Court of Appeals following the Supreme Court decision from last month, I felt it worthy of making another post about the long overdue and rational definition of a firearm finally being applied. It is good to see these “BB Gun” cases fall by the wayside knowing that people will not unknowingly violate the law if they possess a BB Gun because some old caselaw says a BB gun is a firearm.

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Minnesota Firearm Lawyer Coley Grostyan is a criminal defense attorney who represents the accused, including those charged with illegal possession of firearms.

Law Office of Coley J. Grostyan, PLLC
701 Fourth Avenue South, Suite 300
Minneapolis, MN 55415

BB Guns are not firearms – MN Supreme Court Reverses Felony Conviction

Wednesday, October 19th, 2016

The Minnesota Supreme Court issued an opinion today that an air-powered BB gun is not a firearm for purposes of Felon in Possession of a Firearm and other illegal firearm possession crimes. The court reversed the felony-level prohibited person in possession of a firearm conviction.

Prior to today’s decision in the Haywood case, MN courts have routinely stated that BB guns and pellet guns are firearms, that convicted felons and other prohibited persons cannot lawfully possess. However, those previous case decisions improperly relied upon a 40 year-old case that said a BB gun is a dangerous weapon, but never thoroughly defined the word “firearm” as it applied to the illegal possession laws.

Haywood’s conviction and 60-month prison sentence were reversed.  in prison, the mandatory minimum sentence for a someone who possesses a firearm while having a felony conviction for a crime of violence.

This is a common sense decision by the MN Supreme Court, where they only needed to conduct a “plain meaning” analysis to determine the definition of a firearm. This decision does away with the absurd result I have seen in my practice; where someone with a felony conviction buys their child a BB gun, and only later finds out they are facing a mandatory five-years in prison because the courts refused to draw any distinction between a child’s toy and an actual firearm.

Read more about firearm laws in Minnesota here.

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Minneapolis Firearm Lawyer Coley Grostyan regularly fights for those accused of illegally possessing firearms throughout the State of Minnesota.

Law Office of Coley J. Grostyan, PLLC
701 Fourth Avenue South, Suite 300
Minneapolis, MN 55415

Gun bill passed by MN Senate

Wednesday, May 22nd, 2013

The Minnesota Senate passed a bill last week to revise the current version of Minnesota’s gun laws. This bill makes relatively minor changes to Minnesota’s gun laws in comparison to the much more controversial bill proposed earlier this year that included restrictions on certain firearms and magazine capacities.

The bill allows officials to gain access to more information on applicants by updating national and state records as it relates to mental illness and minor criminal convictions. The revised bill does not expand background checks, place greater restrictions on magazine capacities, or expand the scope of crimes that prohibit individuals from purchasing firearms.

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Coley Grostyan is a Minneapolis firearm attorney who regularly represents and advises individuals on federal and state gun laws in the Twin Cities and surrounding suburbs, and throughout the State of Minnesota.

Law Office of Coley J. Grostyan, PLLC
701 Fourth Avenue South, Suite 300
Minneapolis, MN 55415

MN Supreme Court: Knowledge of possession required for firearm possession convictions

Wednesday, July 11th, 2012

Today, in State v. Ndikum, the Minnesota Supreme Court affirmed the Court of Appeals holding that knowledge of possession of a pistol is an element of the crime of possession of a pistol in public.

Mr. Ndikum, an attorney in Minneapolis, was originally charged with felony possession of a dangerous weapon within a courthouse complex and gross misdemeanor possession of a pistol in public after a revolver was found in his briefcase as he attempted to enter the Hennepin County Family Justice Center in 2009. Although he admitted the revolver was his, from the onset, Mr. Ndikum claimed he did not know the firearm was in his briefcase as he was on his way to a hearing at the courthouse.

At trial, Ndikum’s wife testified that she placed the firearm in the briefcase before he left for work. Mr. Ndikum, consistent with his previous assertions, testified that he did not know the firearm was in his briefcase. Based on this testimony, Mr. Ndikum asked the district to instruct the jury that knowledge is an element of both the felony and gross misdemeanor charges he was facing. However, the trial judge only agreed to give such a jury instruction on the felony, but not the gross misdemeanor charge as the statute has no express knowledge requirement. The jury acquitted Ndikum on the felony and convicted him on the gross misdemeanor.

On his appeal to the Court of Appeals, Ndikum argued that the trial court made a mistake by not instructing the jury that knowledge is an element of possession of a pistol in public. The Court of Appeals agreed and reversed the conviction. The State appealed that reversal, but the Minnesota Supreme Court agreed that knowledge is an element of possession of a pistol in public. The Supreme Court reasoned that silence as to some mens rea (i.e. that a defendant know the facts that make his conduct illegal), is typically disfavored and not sufficient to avoid such a requirement.

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Coley Grostyan is a Minneapolis, MN gun crime lawyer who represents individuals accused of gun crimes in the Twin Cities and surrounding suburbs, and throughout the State of Minnesota.

Law Office of Coley J. Grostyan, PLLC
701 Fourth Avenue South, Suite 300
Minneapolis, MN 55415

Governor Vetoes Defense of Dwelling and Person Act

Monday, March 5th, 2012

Citing law enforcement’s opposition to the bill, Governor Dayton vetoed the Minnesota Defense of Dwelling and Person Act of 2011 today.

I have been following this bill closely as it made its way through the Minnesota legislature as it would have substantially changed the advice I give to my clients who own and carry firearms. As I previously posted, the bill would have done away with the common law duty of reasonable retreat when self-defense is exacted outside of the home. With Governor Dayton’s veto, the law will remain as only authorizing the use of deadly force when necessary to resist a crime when there is an objective, good faith belief in the threat of great bodily harm or death, or to prevent the commission of a felony in your own home.

Coley Grostyan is a Minneapolis, MN criminal defense attorney who represents individuals accused of gun crimes in the Twin Cities and surrounding suburbs, and throughout the State of Minnesota.

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Law Office of Coley J. Grostyan, PLLC
701 Fourth Avenue South, Suite 300
Minneapolis, MN 55415