One of the common calls we receive regarding firearms rights revolves around how misdemeanor convictions for crimes of domestic violence can impact firearms rights. Many people are shocked to learn that even a misdemeanor domestic conviction from years ago can cause lifelong firearms rights issues, but not all such convictions actually do.

Domestic assault convictions can implicate a complex web of state and federal laws related to firearms rights. The state prohibitions under Minnesota’s current laws generally only last a few years. More concerning is the federal statute that creates a lifetime prohibition for anyone who is convicted of a “misdemeanor crime of domestic violence,” even if the conviction occurs at the state level. This federal law is often referred to as the Lautenberg Amendment and was enacted in 1996. But not every Minnesota domestic assault conviction actually triggers this federal prohibition.

Importantly, the federal definition of the phrase “misdemeanor crime of domestic violence” is narrower than Minnesota’s state law definition of domestic assault, thus not every Minnesota conviction triggers the lifetime prohibition. It is important that an attorney analyze the specific subdivision you were convicted of as well as the underlying facts of the case in determining whether the federal lifetime prohibition truly applies. 

Our office has advised many citizens on this often complex issue and it seems that many law enforcement agencies misunderstand or misinterpret these prohibitions when making decisions on applications for a permit to carry or a permit to purchase. Just because law enforcement has denied your permit application does not necessarily mean that their conclusion is correct, and you have a right to challenge their decision.

If you have been denied a permit to carry or a permit to purchase due to a prior domestic assault conviction, call The Law Office of John J. Leunig at 952-540-6800 discuss your options.

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