BCA: Changes in law mean new requirements for firearms​

Aug. 7, 2023

​​​​​​​Pistols on displayOur Bureau of Criminal Apprehension is letting Minnesotans know that we have changed a commonly used process.

Our Bureau of Criminal Apprehension (BCA) has updated firearm permitting forms in response to several changes to Minnesota's gun laws approved by the Minnesota Legislature earlier this year.

Among the changes is a new state law that requires that people undergo background checks when buying or receiving pistols or semi-automatic military-style assault weapons. Previously, Minnesota did not require background checks for private party transfers.

The law governs private party transfers, which is when one person transfers a firearm to another outside of a typical store purchase. A background check is conducted in one of two ways:

  • The transferee undergoes a background check when obtaining a transferee permit. Contact your local police department or county sheriff's office.
  • The parties to the transfer jointly appear before a federally licensed firearms dealer who conducts a background check on the transferee.

Private parties who transfer a pistol or semi-automatic military-style assault weapon without the assistance of a federally licensed firearms dealer must maintain a record of transfer for 10 years. The record must include the following:

  • A copy of both parties' identification.
  • A copy of the transferee's permit.
  • A description of the weapon including the manufacturer-assigned serial number.
  • Each page of the record must contain the parties' signatures and the weapon's serial number.

There are numerous exceptions to this statute, including transfers between immediate family members, which means spouses, domestic partners, parents, children, siblings, grandparents and grandchildren.

The BCA has updated existing firearms forms and created a “Private Party Record of Transfer" form to reflect these changes. The forms are available on the BCA website.

A chief of police or sheriff must deny a transferee permit application or a report of transfer if the firearm recipients are:

  • Prohibited by state or federal law from possessing a pistol or semi-automatic military-style assault weapon.
  • Listed in the criminal gang investigative data system under Minn. Stat. § 299C.091.
  • Determined to be a danger to themselves or the public when in possession of firearms.

Applicants denied as a danger to themselves or the public are prohibited from reapplying for six months. Additionally, the timeframe for a chief of police or sheriff to make a decision to grant or deny a transferee permit or report of transfer has been extended to 30 days.

Minnesota's new “red flag law" will allow the court to issue extreme risk protection orders that prohibit the subject of the order from possessing or purchasing firearms while the order is in effect. This new restriction goes into effect on Jan. 1, 2024.

More information on Minnesota's gun laws can be found on the BCA website.​