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Gun defense attorney Thomas Gallagher on gun charges defense

Gun Defense Attorney

Minnesota Gun Defense Attorney Thomas C Gallagher has represented people facing gun charges, for decades.  And he is a frequent lecturer and author on gun laws, gun crime defense and criminal defense.  So here, we’ll cover some basics of Minnesota gun law and criminal defense.  And be sure to check out the other gun law pages here.  But you can also 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?” 

Many people might not even know about the law.  (Basic fairness includes “notice” of prohibited conduct.) But with so many laws these days, it happens all the time.  And gun charges can result.

The solution? Learn more about them. Ready?

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 the gun charges with an intent defense.

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

Guns and firearms come up in several 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.

The New Prohibition

Gun Prohibition: Victimless-“crime” laws criminalizing:

  1. Prohibited person (up to everyone, eventually);
  2. Prohibited gun (up to all guns, eventually).

The Prohibition paradox: the wider & more severe the Prohibition, the more Demand rises. The laws of Supply and Demand, combined with the first Natural Law of survival and self-defense, guarantee these Prohibition laws will not accomplish their stated goals.

A key feature of Prohibition “crimes” is that no one was hurt, no victim, no harm, is being punished. The punishment is based on being a disfavored person or possession of a disfavored thing.

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.  And your gun defense attorney should know them well.

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

Thomas Gallagher’s past Gun crime defense cases:

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

Illegal sales.

Negligent Storage of Firearm (access by minor).

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

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 § 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.  So any false, material information in a carry permit application, with reason to know it’s false, is a gross misdemeanor.  These types of gun charges are 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.  But the prohibitions are broader for possession of pistols and “semiautomatic military-style assault weapons” [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, including Minnesota “Crimes of Violence”, and domestic assault,
  • most persons with a history of mental illness,
  • most persons with a history of chemical dependency,
  • being in the US illegally, fugitives, etc.

Felony Assault Second Degree – Weapon

A prosecutor can enhance misdemeanor assault charges to a felony, Assault Second Degree, besed merely on the use of a weapon.

And some of these cases involve nothing more than “brandishing” a firearm, with no bodily harm at all. But we have at least two different types of defenses in Brandishing Felony Assault cases.

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 gun charges.

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.  But others are scattered throughout the statutes.

A “charge enhancement” increases the maximum sentence to a more severe one.  But 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 attempt to reduce the judge’s discretion to be fair.  They would force a severe prison sentence, no matter how unfair.

In connection with another 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 this abuse of the law.

Loss of Civil Rights or Property Rights

After conviction; during restraining order

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

Contact Gun Defense Attorney Thomas Gallagher by phone, about your case
Contact Gun Defense Attorney Thomas Gallagher

So 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.  And the loss is either temporary or forever (rendering an “ineligible person”).  So protecting your civil rights is an essential part of gun crime defense work.

Property rights:  In some criminal cases, guns can be seized.  And 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 you can do things to help, after the passage of time. So, eventually apply for a Pardon; or petition the court to restore civil rights to firearms in Minnesota.

But beware: a Minnesota expungement won’t restore gun rights.

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

How?  Put the law on your side. 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 good as they may be, won’t get the job done.  The best time to protect yourself is before a guilty plea or conviction. But, 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. 

So if you’re facing gun charges, 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.  So then they look, and come over to see.  But they did not see how it started.  And what do they say?  “Why are THOSE TWO fighting?!  I wish THEY would stop.”


See our article: Self-defense and The Other

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. And where is the truth?

Minnesota’s self-defense law contains a “duty to retreat,” except in the home. Some call this the Castle Doctrine.

So, outside the home; a person facing a threat has a duty to retreat, if practical, before using “reasonable force.”

Of course, we should suffer humiliation rather than get involved in a physical fight, if we can avoid it.  All too often, however, the attack is sudden.   Without warning, retreat would be self-destructive – with risk of great bodily harm.

“No one wins a fight.”  You’ve heard it.  And you know it’s true.  So if it is about “winning,” there should not be a fight at all.  But if you must protect yourself with no alternative, to ensure survival; then there is no reasonable choice.

What is “reasonable force?”

It’s situational. Courts instruct that what is reasonable depends upon the totality of the circumstances at the time.

There must be thousands of court cases discussing reasonable force, in various situations.  And self-defense can be a defense to gun charges.

What is reasonable force? Of course, shooting at someone who spits on your shoes is not 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 – 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.

Mpls Criminal Law Blog logo
Minneapolis Criminal Law Blog

And you can see our series of articles on self-defense here:  Minneapolis Criminal Law Blog articles on self-defense in Minnesota.

Gun Crimes Defense Attorney (this page)

Self-defense – Minnesota Overview

Minnesota Self-defense laws

Ineligible Person in Possession of a Firearm

Gallagher Criminal Defense logo 200

What is firearm possession?

Restoration of civil rights to firearms

Minnesota Carry Permit Law

Carrying under the influence

Minnesota Crimes of Violence

Gun Charges Defense Attorney Thomas Gallagher

Are you facing a gun charge? Need a gun crime defense attorney? Or just have a question?

Minnesota Gun Crimes Defense Attorney Thomas Gallagher defends gun charges
Gun Crimes Defense Attorney Thomas Gallagher

You can call Attorney Thomas Gallagher. He’s happy to help.

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

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