Lifetime Carry Permits Considered in Minnesota

Lifetime Carry Permits Considered in Minnesota
Protect Minnesota Executive Director Nancy Nord Bence at a rally held on Tuesday to address gun violence. photo from duluthnewstribune.comweb photo

In Minnesota, if residents want to exercise their 2nd Amendment rights and carry a firearm, once they get a permit, they must undergo training and renew their permit every five years, paying up to $250 every time. A proposal is currently before the state legislature would allow residents to obtain lifetime carry permits with no need for renewal.

The law has garnered opposition from the anti-gun group Protect Minnesota, according to this story form duluthnewstribune.com.

The group took to the State Capitol on Tuesday for its “Broken Hearts Day” event to urge lawmakers to reject bills such as lifetime permits, which members call “extreme.” The group gave out 1,500 handmade cards to lawmakers, each on supposed to represent an incident of gun violence from the past year.

The chief concern with the proposed law, as voiced by Rev. Nancy Nord Bence, the Protect Minnesota executive director, in the story is that it would hinder law enforcement's ability to remove licenses from people who can no longer safely carry a gun.

The story says the state Bureau of Criminal Apprehension cancelled, revoked, or suspended nearly 400 permits belonging to people formerly approved to carry, The story doesn't say in what time period that occurred or why those permits were modified. The group also worries that gun owners will get so old that dementia will rob them of their necessary mental faculties, yet they will still have a valid carry license.

Regarding the concern over revoking permits: if law enforcement is waiting until five-year permits come up for renewal to take them away from dangerous people who shouldn’t have them, that’s a law enforcement shortcoming, not a permitting problem. Additionally, if there have been a rash of senior citizens with dementia committing firearm crimes in Minnesota, the story does not mention it.

"Do we really believe that a person who was safe to carry a gun when they were 21, or 31, or 41 still (sic) be totally completely together when they're 91?" asked Bence in the story. "We have a serious issue with our aging population that is well-armed."

Rep. Tony Cornish (R-Vernon Center), who authored the bill, said the new carry permit would be similar to the state’s firearm safety certificate.

"You're given that when you're 11 years old, and you can handle a firearm for the rest of your life and you never have to take another class. Why do we require (renewal) for handguns?" Cornish said in the story.

Cornish, a former police officer who chairs the House Public Safety and Security Committee, added that initial training and background checks would sufficiently vet applicants when they initially get their permit, and that lifetime permit holders could lose their permit if convicted of crimes that would bar them from carrying or owning a handgun or firearm in general.

The bill would also lower the cost of legally carrying by reducing the maximum permit fee a county can charge from $100 to $50, and of course, by making that a one-time fee instead of one that recurs every 5 years.

Applicants currently also pay the cost of the necessary classes which range from $90 to $150, the story says.

"There's a number of counties who've gotten more money in their pocket from that than they need," Cornish said in the story. "it's not that expensive to do background checks and issue these cards anymore."

Another bill recently proposed in Minnesota would require background checks for private gun sales within the state. Another would establish "red flag laws" allowing families and law enforcement officers to petition courts to have guns temporarily confiscated from people at risk of hurting themselves or other people, according to the story.

Contrarily there is also a permitless carry bill proposed in both the House and Senate that would abolish the necessity of carry permits all together, but still make them available as an option. The Legislature is also considering a proposed “stand your ground” bill that would eliminate the obligation for state residents to retreat from danger in cases of self-defense by deadly force.