On Friday, May 9, 2014, Governor Mark Dayton signed a new public safety bill into law that affects the firearm rights of some individuals in Minnesota.
On July 1, 2014, the new law will allow judges in child protection proceedings to prohibit the possession of firearms of a party who is a “credible threat to the physical safety of the child”, or if the protective order prohibits the use, attempted use, or threat of physical force against a child. Furthermore, if the judge makes a finding the abusing party poses an imminent risk of causing substantial bodily harm to another, the judge must order law enforcement to take immediate, but temporary, possession of all firearms in the abusing party’s possession. The prohibition on firearm possession ends on the expiration date of the protective order.
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and extending on certain in, including Chapter 213, HF 3238, a public safety bill which passed the House 111-15 and the Senate 60-4. The law will go into effect on August 1, 2014.
Chapter 213, HF 3238 has several parts. The first part will prohibit persons from possessing firearms if they are subject to a domestic restraining order for the length of the order, if the order includes language restraining the abusing party from harassing, stalking, threatening or engaging in any conduct that would place the child in reasonable fear of bodily injury, and if the order finds the abusing party represents a credible threat to the physical safety of the child.
The new public safety bill also requires the abusing party, within 3 days of receiving notice of the restraining order, to transfer, either permanently or temporarily, all firearms in possession to a federally licensed firearms dealer or a law enforcement agency for a reasonable fee, or to a third party who may lawfully receive them and does not reside with the abusing party. The abusing party must provide the court proof of transfer of all firearms within two days of the transfer. If the transfer is made to a third party, the third party must sign an affidavit under oath before a notary public including agreement to receive the firearms; the serial number, make and model of all firearms transferred; and acknowledgement he or she may be held criminally and civilly responsible under section 624.7144 if the abusing party gains access to a transferred firearm while the firearm is in the custody of the third party.
When a person is convicted of a violation of this section or of an assault in the first, second, third, fourth, or fifth, and the court determines the assault was against a family or household member, the court shall determine by a preponderance of the evidence if the person poses an imminent risk of causing another person substantial bodily harm. Upon a finding of imminent risk, the court shall order that the local law enforcement agency take immediate possession of all firearms in the person’s possession.
Additionally, the new law includes additional persons who are prohibited from possession of a firearm, including: (1) a person is disqualified from possessing a firearm under United States Code, title 18, section 922(g)(8) or (9), as amended through March 1, 2014; and (2) a person who has been convicted of a violation of section 609.224 if the court determined that the assault was against a family or household member in accordance with section 609.2242, subdivision 8 (domestic assault), unless three years have elapsed since the date of conviction and, during that time, the person has not been convicted of another violation of section 609.224 or a violation of a section listed in clause (11).
Read the entire bill signed by Governor Dayton here.
Coley Grostyan is a Minnesota gun crime lawyer and assault defense attorney who fights for his clients in challenges to restore gun rights.