The final version and reenactment of the Minnesota Citizens Personal Protection Act (MCPPA) was passed in 2005 and among many things, required the county sheriff to issue carry permits to law abiding citizens as long as the citizen was not prohibited from possessing a firearm under state or federal law and the citizen passed a comprehensive background check. Prior to the MCPPA, issuing of permits was at the complete discretion of law enforcement, and subsequently, most permit applications were denied. This has since changed. (History on MCPPA).

In the state of Minnesota, obtaining a permit to carry a firearm requires that the applicant obtain training from a firearm instructor that is certified to teach the permit-to-carry class, complete an application and submit the application in person to the sheriff of the county where you, the applicant, reside. Non-residents may submit, in person, their application to any county sheriff. The sheriff is required by law to issue a permit within thirty days or deny the application with proper cause (something in your past resulted in a denial). Should your application be denied, there is an appeals process but the appeal will most likely require the assistance of an attorney.

Minnesota Statute 624.714 allows qualified individuals to obtain a permit to carry a pistol in the state. Permits are issued by all county sheriffs in Minnesota.

Applicant requirements:
-Must be at least 21 years of age.
-Must complete an application form.
-Must not be prohibited from possessing a firearm.
-Must not be listed in the criminal gang investigation system.
-Must be a resident of the county from which you are requesting a permit if you reside in Minnesota.
-Non-residents may apply to any Minnesota county sheriff and provide the sheriff with either the I-551 or I-151 card that has been issued.
-Must provide certificate of completed authorized firearms training. Training by a certified instructor and completed within one year prior to applying for a permit to carry.

Emergency permits may be issued by the sheriff if he/she determines that the person is in an emergency situation that may constitute an immediate risk to the safety of the person or someone residing in the person's household.

Any applicant who does not meet the criteria as listed in above is not eligible for a permit to carry a pistol. The sheriff may also deny the application if there is a substantial likelihood that the applicant is a danger to himself/herself or others.

The permit holder must have the permit to carry card and a driver's license, state identification card, or other government-issued photo identification in immediate possession at all times when carrying a firearm and must display the permit and identification when requested by a peace officer.

MCPPA Training (overview)
Individuals that are authorized to teach the Minnesota permit-to-carry class obtain their credentials from a Minnesota Department of Public Safety approved instructor training organization. Most often, these instructors operate independently and have no affiliation with the certifying business organization. However, in some cases, instructors may also own the same organization that certified them and others.

In the state of Minnesota, instructors that teach the permit to carry class are required to provide instruction on the fundamentals of safe pistol use, the legal aspects of pistol possession, use and carry including the use of deadly force and have students complete a live-fire shooting qualification. These requirements are covered under MN 624.714 subd. 2a.

Many of the instructors certified to teach the Minnesota permit-to-carry course will also have certifications from the National Rifle Association (NRA). The NRA is considered the leading authority on firearm safety, use and training. The concepts taught by the NRA with regard to firearm safety can be easily applied to the Minnesota permit-to-carry course.

Instructors generally have a great deal of latitude in the classroom and how the class is structured as long as the fundamentals are covered per state law. Generally speaking, classes can range anywhere from 2.5 to 8 hours in length depending on class content, class size and experience level of participants (students). Responsible instructors will tend to exceed state training requirements by including subject matter that otherwise is not required.

Permit-to-carry instructors can also teach as many or as few classes as they wish and charge as much as the market will bare. Expenses above and beyond the cost of a class is generally paid for by the student and can include range fees, cost of ammunition, firearm rental, targets and eye and ear protection.

Some instructors may be certified to teach permit-to-carry courses for other states and therefore by taking a single class, you the student may qualify to obtain a permit for not only Minnesota but additional states as well. This is generally a benefit for people that travel and wish to carry a firearm with them, legally. Before selecting a permit-to-carry instructor, ask them about their training certifications.

Examples of topics/categories likely to be covered in training

  • Overview of the MCPPA (what it is)
  • Fundamentals of pistol use, safety and mechanical knowledge
  • Ammunition
  • Firearm selection
  • Firearm cleaning
  • Firearm retention
  • Carry methods
  • Legal issues and concepts
  • Use of force including deadly force
  • Interacting with law enforcement
  • Psychological, physiological and social effects of a violent threat encounter
  • Civil versus criminal law / legal aftermath
  • Reciprocity
  • Live-fire shooting Exercise

The shooting qualification typically consists of firing 30 to 50 rounds of ammunition at two different distances into two targets. The permit-to-carry student is generally expected to achieve defensive accuracy. Defensive accuracy is typically defined as being able to consistently fire a predetermined number of rounds of ammunition into a target the size of a paper plate from a distance of 21 feet. The exact parameters of the shooting exercise are at the complete discretion of the instructor as long as the student fires a real firearm using real ammunition. Simulators and BB guns are not permitted per the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension (BCA). The BCA is responsible for approving instructor training organizations.

Carrying a firearm in public as a means of protecting oneself is an awesome responsibility. Training from a qualified and competent instructor is extremely important. Check around and get references. When you fire your gun in self-defense, you are legally responsible for every bullet that leaves the barrel of your gun. Knowing how to shoot and when to shoot will help to keep you out of prison.