Buying Ammo and Guns in Minnesota

DISCLAIMER: It is your full responsibility to make sure the firearm, ammunition, or accessories you are purchasing is legal for you to own in your state or jurisdiction. The information contained throughout this web site, including the firearm and ammunition state guide provided below, is not legal advice and should not be construed as legal advice.

In this piece, we cover the firearm and ammunition laws in the state of Minnesota. To do so, the piece begins by covering the ammo laws of MN with a focus on the process of having ammunition shipped to a residential address there. Following that, the piece covers the firearms laws in the state both in terms of the processes for purchasing firearms, but also the ins and outs of carrying firearms in Minnesota. To wrap things up, the piece concludes with some resources that we think would be useful to folks who want to legally purchase, own, and carry firearms in Minnesota.

We do not intend any information in this piece as formal legal advice. Instead, we hope you find the information here useful to your own decision-making processes.

Like many states, Minnesota has preemption: this means that the state legislature has declared that localities, such as cities, counties, and towns cannot make their own gun and ammo laws that are more strict than those at the state level. Preemption makes things easier for lawful gun owners because once you have an understanding of the laws and regulations at the state level, that understanding can be applied to the entire state. There is one small exception in Minnesota: localities can regulate the discharge of a firearm within their limits, so check local laws before shooting anywhere but on a designated range.

Minnesota’s gun laws are middle of the pack in terms of permissiveness. While there are no major bans on assault rifles or magazines in the state, bans on NFA items, as well as some of the laws surrounding private firearms sales in the state, are somewhat restrictive.

Ammo Laws/Buying Ammo in Minnesota 

First, we will cover the ammo laws of Minnesota.

Minnesota bans some kinds of armor-piercing bullets, which they define as certain handgun rounds that have solid metal cores. Aside from that ban, the state is permissive in terms of its ammunition laws and follows Federal guidelines.

The ATF has two sets of requirements for the purchasing of ammunition. The first is an age requirement: buyers have to be eighteen years of age or older to buy ammo for rifles and shotguns, and at least twenty-one to buy pistol ammunition. Secondly, ammunition buyers cannot be prohibited persons, which the ATF defines as people who have been convicted of felonies or domestic violence, those who have been found mentally unfit in a court of law, and people who have been involuntarily committed to a mental health facility for treatment.

Assuming that the ammunition is not the “metal-piercing ammunition” that the state has banned, and the buyer meets ATF requirements, the state of Minnesota is fine with having ammunition shipped to a residential address in the state. Keep in mind that carriers might impose some of their own rules, such as asking for an adult with valid identification to be present to sign for a package that contains ammunition.

While the state does ban certain handgun rounds, the process of buying and having ammunition shipped to a residential address in Minnesota is straightforward, which makes the ammo laws of the state fairly permissive.

Gun Laws/Buying Guns in Minnesota

Next, we will do the same analysis for Minnesota’s gun laws.

There are currently no assault weapons or magazine bans in Minnesota. There is, however, a state-level ban on some NFA items: machine guns and short-barreled shotguns are illegal at the state level.

Before purchasing a firearm, the state requires a permit in certain cases. Specifically, people who want to purchase handguns or long guns that have pistol grips need to have a Transferee permit that is issued by the local police department. This involves an in-depth background check, including the possibility of being rejected at the discretion of the local police department. This permit is required for all transfers of such weapons in the state, and, thus, means that private sellers are obligated to submit the buyer for a state background check through the state police. As part of this process, the state imposes a week-long waiting period on handguns and rifles with pistol grips.

For long guns without pistol grips, the state simply follows federal guidelines. To buy a firearm not regulated under the state’s permitting system, the buyer will need to bring a form of payment and a valid ID to the gun store. From there, the FFL will have the buyer fill out ATF Form 4473 to do the background check. Once both the background check and payment clear, the buyer can leave with their firearm the same day. In Minnesota, the addition of the permitting process for pistol purchases and some rifle purchases substantially adds to this process: overall, it will likely take along the lines of a month for a new buyer to purchase their first pistol in the state. For folks with an existing permit, there will be a week-long waiting period.

Carrying firearms in the state is somewhat restricted. Unlike most states, Minnesota requires a permit to carry a firearm either openly or concealed: the permitting statute does not specify whether one is to carry the firearm concealed or not. This makes open carry legal by default, and, interestingly, includes BB guns, which are not even firearms. The permit requires an application, a fee, and records of having completed a recognized class.

The Minnesota permit to carry a firearm is somewhat widely recognized, but with a fair few restrictions depending on the state.

Minnesota has a list of places where it is illegal to carry a firearm even with a permit. Those locations include:

  • Courthouses

  • K-12 schools

  • Colleges

  • Businesses (employers can ban carry)

  • Private property (once the owner notifies)

  • Federal facilities 

This list is not an unusual one, even among the most permissive of states.

Of note, Minnesota is home to Magnum Research, which is the company that produces the iconic Desert Eagle series of large-bore handguns.

Minnesota’s gun laws are more restrictive than their ammunition laws. The permitting process to buy all handguns and some rifles is restrictive, and their weapons carriage laws include things that are not even firearms (BB guns). While the lack of an assault weapons ban or magazine ban makes the state a little more permissive, the overall story here is that Minnesota is somewhat restrictive in terms of the firearms and ammunition laws at the state level.

Sales Tax on Guns/Ammo in Minnesota 

Minnesota has a general sales tax rate of 6.875%, which goes up by an additional two percent in some localities. The state does not impose additional taxes on firearms and ammunition. 

Though they are not technically taxes, the fees associated with getting the permit to buy a pistol or modern rifle/shotgun might rightly be considered an additional tax on the purchase of firearms, since one has to pay that fee in order to begin the firearms purchasing process in the state.

More Resources:

  • The ATF maintains a list of every FFL in the country, including in Minnesota. This list is kept up to date and can be used to find local gun stores. Usually, gun stores are either Type One or Type Two FFLs. 

  • is an excellent tool to find places to shoot. Using the mileage, zip code, and city filters can help you find convenient ranges in Minnesota. Users can also add more ranges, and the information is regularly verified. 

  • There are a number of well-reputed gun stores in the state. 

  • There is an active subreddit for shooters in Minnesota, which has lively discussions about local events. 

Minnesota Gun Law FAQ:

As long as the ammunition is not on MN’s short list of banned cartridges, and the buyer meets age requirements and is not a prohibited person, the state has no rules against shipping ammunition to a residential address.

The state allows people to carry firearms with a permit: interestingly, this permit doesn’t specify whether the firearm has to be concealed. 

The state does not have an assault weapons ban, but it does ban some NFA items and requires a permit to purchase pistols and many rifles and shotguns. With that said, this state is somewhere in the middle in terms of its gun-friendliness.

For traditional rifles and shotguns, no. For pistols and long guns with pistol grips, yes. First, you can expect to wait about a month for the permit to purchase pistols and many modern rifles and shotguns. Once the permit is in hand, there is a mandatory weeklong waiting period to allow the state to conduct a background check. This also applies to private sales.

Machine guns are banned by the state of Minnesota, as are short-barreled shotguns. Some NFA items, such as suppressors and short-barreled rifles, are allowed by the state.