Gun Defense Attorney

Minnesota Gun Defense Attorney Thomas C Gallagher has represented people accused of a crime, including gun charges, for decades.  He is a frequent lecturer and author on gun laws, gun crime defense and criminal defense.  Here, we’ll cover some basics of Minnesota gun law and criminal defense.  Be sure to check out the other gun law pages here.  And you can always call Attorney Thomas Gallagher with any questions.

Get to know Minnesota Gun Laws

If you’re a competitive shooter, hunter, collector, or just an occasional plinker, you know that gun laws are complex.

Is it possible to break a law on a “technicality?”  A normal person might not even know about the law.  These days, it happens all the time.  But gun charges can result.

Gun crime defense: location matters - in the home
Gun crime defense: location matters – in the home

If you are not sure about how to comply with the gun laws, do your best to investigate.  And make sure you do comply.  That way, you should never need a gun defense attorney.

To begin, “intent” is a necessary element of every crime.

Intent defense:  An accident or mistake may mean that there was no “intent” to do the prohibited act.

If it is too late now to go back, and fill out that form differently, it may be possible to defend such a case with an intent defense.

If it is not too late, avoid shortcuts, be careful – don’t put yourself at risk.  Learn about Minnesota gun law so you can be safe.

Guns and firearms come up in several different contexts for gun defense attorneys.

  1. Criminal “regulation of gun rights.”
  2. Enhancement of other crimes (such as robbery) to a more severe punishment, with a gun.
  3. Loss of civil rights or property rights based upon criminal conviction, criminal charge or civil court order.

Regulation of Gun Rights

Numerous Federal and Minnesota State statutes seek to limit our fundamental rights to and duties of self-defense, guns and firearms.  Your gun defense attorney should know them well.

These laws directly address the sale, ownership, possession, and use of firearms both in relation to the status of the person involved, as well as immediate circumstances.  This web of laws includes both civil and criminal gun laws.

Gun crime defense cases Gallagher handles

False Statement on Application for Gun Purchase (misunderstood legal terms) or Permit.

Illegal sales.

Negligent Storage of Firearm (access by minor).

Carrying Under the Influence, or over 0.04 alcohol concentration. It’s legal to carry with your permit in a bar, but not to be over 0.04.

Carrying Without a Permit (Handgun).  Minnesota Statutes Section § 624.714.
This statutory section sets forth the objective “shall issue” criteria.  See our Carry Permit page for a deeper look at Minnesota’s carry permit law.

The statute makes “false representations” on an application for a permit a crime.  Any false material information in applying for a permit to carry, knowing or having reason to know the information false, is  a gross misdemeanor.  This type of gun charge is common for a gun defense attorney.

Unlawful Possession by Ineligible Person (due to prior conviction).  Minnesota Statutes Section § 624.713.

Possession of a gun by an “ineligible person” as defined by statute is a crime.  These are common gun charges for a gun defense attorney.  The prohibitions are broader for possession of pistols and “semiautomatic military-style assault weapon” [sic] than other firearms.  What makes a person “ineligible?”

  • A conviction or juvenile adjudication for a felony and selected misdemeanor violations of a criminal statute;
  • most persons with a history of mental illness,
  • most persons with a history of chemical dependency,
  • illegal aliens, fugitives, etc.

Reckless or Intentional Discharge gun crime defense:  Reckless Discharge of a Firearm Within a Municipality,  Minnesota Statutes Section § 609.66, subd. 1a(a)(3) and Intentional Discharge of a Firearm Under Circumstances that Endanger the Safety of Another, Minnesota Statutes Section § 609.66, subd. 1a(a)(2). Both are felony crimes.

Enhancement of Other Crimes to a More Severe Punishment

Many criminal statutes in Minnesota contain “charge enhancements” and “mandatory minimum” sentencing provisions triggered somehow by a gun or firearm.  Your gun defense attorney protects you from these.

An example of the latter is in Minnesota Statutes Section § 609.11.  There are, however, many others scattered throughout the statutes.

A “charge enhancement” increases the maximum sentence to a more severe one.  The enhancement element requires proof of some fact in the case such as a firearm.

A “mandatory minimum” sentencing provision, similarly, requires proof of a predicate fact.  Mandatory minimum laws tend to tie the hands of the judge.  They tend to force a severe prison sentence no matter how unfair.

In connection with a crime

A common fact pattern here is using or possessing a gun in connection with another crime.   The most common is a simple drug possession case where the person also possesses a gun in the home.  The legislature did not intend to address this .

Loss of Civil Rights or Property Rights based on conviction, or during restraining order

The government could take away your civil rights or property rights to your firearms.  The legal basis can be criminal gun charges or convictions.  Or, the rights impairment could be temporary, during a domestic civil restraining order, like an OFP or HRO.

Contact Gun Defense Attorney Thomas Gallagher by phone, to discuss your case
Contact Gun Defense Attorney Thomas Gallagher by phone, to discuss your case

Contact Gun Defense Attorney Thomas Gallagher by phone, to discuss your case

Civil rights:  Felony and some misdemeanor convictions (including domestics) can cause a loss of civil rights to firearms.  The loss is either temporary or forever (rendering an “ineligible person”).  Protecting your civil rights is an essential part of gun crime defense work.

Property rights:  In some criminal cases, guns can be seized.  These seizures happen even while presumed innocent before trial or acquittal; and after certain convictions.

When should you act to protect your rights?

The past:  Sometimes things can be done to help, after the passage of time, or petitioning the court for a restoration of civil rights to firearms in Minnesota.

The future:  But by far the best way to protect your civil rights to firearms is to prevent their loss in the first place.

How?  Retain a good gun defense attorney to fight gun charges, prevent a conviction and  protect your gun rights.

All the excuses in the world, as sympathetic and understandable as they may be, won’t get the job done.  The best time  to protect yourself is before a guilty plea or conviction – after that could be too late.

Self-Defense is a Human Right

A person has the right to defend self or others with reasonable force.  The laws of Minnesota recognize this.  But regardless, we know that self-defense is a basic Human Right that each of us has.  It belongs to you.  You were born with it.  Your gun defense attorney should be an expert in self-defense law.

The Other

Did you ever see two people physically fighting, perhaps when you were school-age or on the street?

When you were a witness to how it started, normally one person was the aggressor.  And the other tried to back away.

And then after the fight is underway, most people notice.  They look, and come over to see.  But they did not see how it started.  What do they say?  “Why are THOSE TWO fighting?!  I wish THEY would stop.”

What about cases where there are no other witnesses, such as a fight in home in a domestic crime case?  How do we know what really happened, where is the truth?

Minnesota’s self-defense law, like many other’s, contains a “duty to retreat” provision, except in the home.

This means that a person facing a threat has a duty to retreat, where practical, before responding with “reasonable force.”

Of course, we should suffer humiliation rather than get involved in a physical fight.  All too often, however, the attack is sudden.   Without warning, retreat wold be self-destructive – either impossible or at extreme risk of bodily harm.

“No one wins a fight.”  You’ve heard it.  And know it’s true.  If it is about “winning,” there should not be a fight.  If it is about protecting yourself with no alternative, or survival, then there is no reasonable choice.

What is “reasonable force?”

There must be thousands of court cases discussing this, in various situations.  Obviously, shooting at someone who spits on your shoes is not be reasonable force.

We train police officers to shoot the center of mass in self-defense.   And, we train them to shoot a person armed with a knife within a certain distance – and wisely so.  That can be reasonable force – a good gun crime defense.

In the end, no one wants to be in a position where a jury has to decide “was it reasonable?” given the threat presented at the time.  But if you are defending yourself from a violent attack, deadly force could be reasonable.

You can see our series of articles on self-defense here:  Minneapolis Criminal Law News articles on self-defense in Minnesota.

Gun-related pages on

Gun Crimes Defense Attorney (this page)
Self-defense Law in Minnesota
Ineligible Person in Possession of a Firearm
What is firearm possession?
Restoration of civil rights to firearms
Minnesota Carry Permit Law
Carrying under the influence

Gun Charges Defense Attorney Thomas Gallagher

Minnesota Gun Crime Defense Attorney Thomas Gallagher
Minnesota Gun Crime Defense Attorney Thomas Gallagher

If you’re facing a gun charge, need a gun crime defense attorney, or just have a question – you can call Attorney Thomas Gallagher.

He’s happy to help.

Question?  Call Gun Charges Defense Attorney Thomas Gallagher at 612 333-1500