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    In the state of Minnesota, statute 609.06 authorizes a private citizen the right to use reasonable force toward another without the other’s consent, to resist or aid another in resisting an offense against the person or in resisting a trespass. So what is considered to be reasonable force?

    Reasonable force can best be described as the level of force proportionate to the level of unlawful force about to be utilized against the victim. If someone were to push or slap you, you would most likely not be justified in using a baseball bat or gun as a means of protecting yourself. This level of force (bat or gun) would be considered unreasonable and excessive under the law when compared to a push or a slap in the face. Using excessive force to defend yourself could result in criminal charges leading to your imprisonment and/or the payment of large fines. The line between reasonable force and excessive force is very thin where no buffer zone exists. In addition to using reasonable force, you must be a reluctant participant in the altercation and have attempted to withdraw or retreat (if safe to do so), otherwise, your involvement may be considered to be willing mutual combat (brawling/fighting) and subsequently you may erode any legal protection afforded you under the law.

    Minnesota statute 609.065 specifically covers the justifiable taking of human life. The statute specifically states:
    "The intentional taking of the life of another is not authorized by section 609.06, except when necessary in resisting or preventing an offense which the actor reasonably believes exposes the actor or another to great bodily harm or death, or preventing the commission of a felony in the actor's place of abode."
    Statute 609.065 is slightly more complicated than it appears so let us pick-apart 609.065 and examine what probably is not obvious in the statute.

    Outside of your place of abode, you may only use deadly force in self-defense if you believe the threat of death or great bodily harm exists to you or another and you or the person you are protecting are innocent and reluctant participants in the deadly threat encounter.

    Essentially, you cannot provoke someone, shoot them and claim self-defense (you were part of the problem). Additionally, if you rob a bank and are confronted by someone with a gun and you shoot them, you cannot claim self-defense because you are not innocent (you committed a crime by robbing a bank and forfeit your right to self-defense).

    Minnesota statute defines “great bodily harm” as:
    “…bodily injury which creates a high probability of death, or which causes serious permanent disfigurement, or which causes a permanent or protracted loss or impairment of the function of any bodily member or organ or other serious bodily harm.” (609.02)
    To help illustrate just how severe great bodily harm is, broken bones (fractures) do not even qualify or meet the requirement of great bodily harm (see “substantial bodily harm” MN 609.02).

    Statute 609.065 also states,
    “…the actor reasonably believes exposes the actor or another to great bodily harm or death... “.
    The term “reasonably”, alone in the statute is somewhat subjective; however, there is a test that will help us identify what is “reasonable” in a more objective light. This test is also fairly universal and widely adopted (not Minnesota specific). The test for when the use of deadly force is authorized is often referred to as the AOJ-P Analysis.

    AOJ-P is short for Ability, Opportunity, Jeopardy and Preclusion. If a threat passes these criterions, the use of deadly force is generally authorized.

    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 certified to teach the Minnesota permit-to-carry class obtain their credentials from a Department of Public Safety / BCA approved business organization. Most often, these instructors operate independently and have no affiliation (other than the certification) 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).

    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 keep you out of prison.

    Before you get too deep into reading, everyone should take 48 minutes and watch >this video< that explains why you should never talk to the police regarding the intricate details following your use of deadly force or you threatening the use of deadly force to defend yourself.

    After the use of deadly force or threatening the use of deadly force:

    1. Be the first to call 911 to report what happened. It is generally believed that the first person to call 911 gets to play the victim. Do not rely on others to call 911 for you; call yourself so your call is documented (recorded) and to ensure facts are clear. Provide only minimal information.
    2. When the police arrive

    • My name is [your name] and I live at [your address]
    • I was attacked [by that person / person that ran away]
    • There is the evidence [point to anything the police may have missed or did not realize was a weapon]
    • That person / those people are witnesses
    • I have spoken to / left message with my attorney, and I am going to wait until [he / she] arrives to give a statement and sign a complaint
    • NOTE: As the police arrive you should have or be in the process of holstering your firearm and keeping both hands in front of you and fully visible to arriving law enforcement. This is for your safety and theirs

    A claim of self-defense is an affirmative defense (reserved for intentional acts i.e. not an accident), meaning that you are admitting that you in fact killed someone or threatened to use deadly force against someone but that you had a legal justification for doing so and thus you claim to be exempt from prosecution. A claim of self-defense requires that the victim (you) present compelling evidence to the legal system that supports the justification surrounding your actions. The evidence you are required to present will differ depending on the state your actions took place in (each state has different laws regarding self-defense). If the legal system does not agree with the evidence you have presented, you will be arrested and you will be prosecuted in a court of law.

    In general, if you are being questioned by law enforcement, you are probably a suspect in a crime or the officer is attempting to discern as to whether or not a crime has been committed. Nothing you say to the police can be used to help you. NOBODY has ever talked their way out of being arrested! Everything you say to the police can be used against you. Law enforcement can even lie to you to get information from you and even "promise" you that you are not a suspect, that you will not be arrested or that you will not be prosecuted. Law enforcement can even confront you with false physical evidence in an attempt to coerce you into incriminating yourself or at a minimum, get you to implicate yourself (to some degree) in whatever it is that the police are investigating. The leading case regarding police "trickery and deceit" is Frazier v. Cupp. Law enforcement officers are also specially trained to conduct interrogations and can go to great lengths to extract a confession and in some cases, extract a false confession. False confessions are frequently the result of over zealous police officers, or law enforcement being under great political pressure to solve a crime. These types of confessions (false confessions) can be the result of wearing-down a suspect through extended interrogations (~30 or ~50 hours straight), to the point of delirium where the suspect will say anything in order to sleep. Another tactic law enforcement can use in the interrogation process is their ability to twist statements and facts to the point where a person in a weakened state may actually come to believe that they, the suspect, did do what the police allege, when in fact, it is all a fabrication made by law enforcement in order to obtain a confession. This type of tactic is akin to brainwashing. As incredible as it sounds, it happens. Aside from the police interrogation, in some cases, the prosecution itself is down-right-malicious.

    It is often said by "law abiding" citizens that, "I am not a criminal and I do not break the law and therefore I have nothing to fear from talking to law enforcement". This is actually a very naive way of thinking because no one can ever say for sure where questions and our answers will lead a prosecutors desire to prosecute. We all commit crimes nearly every day and do not even know (most of the time) that we are e.g. speeding, jaywalking, spitting on the sidewalk, carrying a pocket knife with a blade length greater than 3.5 inches, etc... The book: One Nation Under Arrest: How Crazy Laws, Rogue Prosecutors, and Activist Judges Threaten Your Liberty by Rosenzwieg and Walsh helps to illustrate just how convoluted our legal structure is with regard to the tens-of-thousands of federal statutes, federal CFRs, the tax code, state laws and local ordinances; citizens cannot possibly keep up with all the laws and regulations in order to be "law abiding" yet we are told that "ignorance of the law is no excuse". Moreover, it has even been said that the federal government itself doesn't even know for sure how many laws and regulations are on the books. A book review by the Washington Times on the book previously mentioned, provides an excellent example of just how screwed-up and out of control things really are here in the United States.

    The reasons why we should not talk to the police without an attorney are many as illustrated above. Conversations with your attorney are privileged and generally cannot be disclosed to law enforcement. This is not the case when discussing matters with friends or family. When your freedom is potentially at stake, talk to no one but your attorney. You should provide the same instruction to your spouse and your children.

    Curious about how officer involved shootings are handled by law enforcement? This >> document << suggests similar guidelines as discussed above with regard to removing the officer from the scene, offering support and providing a means for the officer to have "privileged" conversations (by getting the officer an attorney). What is good for the police is probably good for the private citizen as well.

    Key points to remember:
    1. Miranda rights are almost meaningless. Just assume that anything you say before or after receiving your Miranda warning will be used against you in some way, form or fashion
    2. Conversations with police need to be kept at a very high-level. State only what is obvious. No details regarding your actions
    3. State your willingness to cooperate but that you demand that your attorney be present during all discussions and that you do not consent to a search of person, property or effects
    4. Repeat your demand for an attorney and non-consent to search to every officer that questions you. Doing so "should" stop any interrogation and aggressive pressure from the police, although there are no guarantees. Do not be intimidated but do maintain a basic level of respect. Cops are people too, the majority are honest and hardworking and just trying to do their job to the best of their ability. With that said, they also work for the prosecutor. Their job is not to "protect and serve" you!

    Assertion of Your Rights (Re: 4th, 5th & 6th Amendments to the US Constitution):

    Following recent US Supreme Court and lower appeals court rulings, a person must assert their rights verbally and the assertion must be a confident and forceful statement of fact or belief. For example, courts have found that making the following statement to law enforcement, "I think I need to speak to an attorney" is in fact NOT a demand to have an attorney present during questioning. An example of properly asserting your rights would include, "I demand to see an attorney and I do not consent to search." This statement invokes your 4th and 6th amendment rights.

    What about the 5th amendment? The 5th amendment covers your right to remain silent. It is no longer advised to verbally invoke your right to remain silent. Instead, continue to demand to speak with an attorney.

    The reason for this is due to the fact that the courts have now decided that invoking your right to remain silent is prima facie evidence of guilt AND the fact that you invoked your right to remain silent is now admissible in court as evidence against you (US Supreme Court: Salinas v. Texas).

    Invoking your 6th amendment right, should stop the interrogation (no more questions to answer) and when your attorney arrives, he or she will invoke your right to remain silent on your behalf. If this becomes known to your jury, it will be better coming from your attorney as opposed to you making the decision yourself.

    The details regarding this revelation can be read in the excellent book titled "You have the right to remain innocent" by law professor James Duane.

    In closing, after a self-defense shooting, you will need to give basic information to law enforcement such as identifying yourself, claiming your actions were self-defense and pointing out any evidence at the scene as well as witnesses. After this, demand to see an attorney.

    Note: Never physically resist police action (even touching a police officer can result in 4th degree assault charges in Minnesota or 3rd degree felony charges in Texas). Doing so will likely result in additional charges and or personal injury.

    This general overview is not necessarily state specific.

    No one affiliated with UAPDI, neither directly nor indirectly is an attorney. Therefore, the information gleaned from this site is for informational purposes only. Only a licensed attorney can give legal advice and generally legal advice only comes after long sessions of understanding the issues being discussed.

    All fifty states provide some means to allow private citizens to carry a loaded firearm on their person and in public (outside their home) for personal defense. Most states require that individuals apply for a permit, some states do not regulate “carry” if the firearm is visible (referred to as “open carry”), other states do a little of both and some states recognize each other’s permits, known as “reciprocity”. Some states do not regulate "carry" at all (aka Constitutional Carry) with the exception of having an age requirement and not being a person prohibited from owning a firearm.

    In addition, some states have “shall issue” permit laws while other states have “may issue” permit laws. The difference is, in “shall issue” states, the agency in question “MUST” issue your permit to carry a firearm if you pass the background check and/or pass other specific parameters established by law. For states with a “may issue” permit law, it is at the complete discretion of law enforcement (or some other governmental agency) as to whether or not you should be issued a permit to carry a firearm.

    Want a permit to carry in California? Due to the “may issue” law in CA, you must be politically connected, a Hollywood celebrity or really good friends with the county sheriff to get a permit to carry in CA, in most counties. In California, permits are generally valid state-wide, however there is no preemption law which basically means that a local town ordinance can make your state issued permit null and void in that jurisdiction. On the other hand, in Minnesota your state issued permit is valid almost everywhere and local towns or cities cannot preempt state law with regard to permit-to-carry.

    Assume for a moment that your home state permit is valid in the state you’ll be vacationing in next month. The thing to remember is that you are always bound by the laws of the state where you are visiting. Therefore it is always a good idea to get a general understanding of that states gun and permit laws prior to traveling. For example, in MN you can carry in bars but in other states you cannot. States can define “bar” differently based on some criteria; for example, based on percentage of food sold versus alcohol.

    Another reason to do a little research before traveling to another state is to ensure the firearm(s) you are carrying or transporting is/are legal at your destination or route of travel. California has banned magazines with a capacity greater than ten rounds and they have banned assault rifles (AR15 variants and others). It is illegal to bring these items into the state, even if only "transporting" these items. California also has very specific requirements for how handguns are transported in a motor vehicle.

    Want to know more about the law? Reading state statutes isn't enough. While reading your state statues gives insight into what the laws of that state may be, many statues have their true legal meaning established or defined through case law, especially those statutes related to the use of force. For example, Minnesota statute 609.065 (Justifiable Taking of Life) states:
    “The intentional taking of the life of another is not authorized by section 609.06, except when necessary in resisting or preventing an offense which the actor reasonably believes exposes the actor or another to great bodily harm or death, or preventing the commission of a felony in the actor's place of abode.”
    What more do we really need to know from these 51 words? This statute seems fairly clear and straight-forward... or maybe not. We should probably find out what statute 609.06 is all about. We should find out how the state defines “great bodily harm” (609.02 subd. 8). We should understand what a “felony” is (609.02 subd. 2) and we should probably know what “abode” means in the context of this statute.

    What isn’t obvious in statute 609.065 is that case law in Minnesota applies 4 rules (also known as the Four Pillars or the AOJ-P analysis) to the justifiable use of deadly force and Minnesota case law has also determined that the "reasonable" test in 609.06 applies to the use of deadly force when preventing a felony within your place of abode (your actual dwelling, not the detached garage, barn, land or storage shed, etc.).

    Considering how serious the use of deadly force is, doesn’t it seem odd that there are only 51 words in the statute that defines when this level of force is authorized? Of the 51 words, only the last 13 pertain specifically to protecting yourself in your home. Generally, I believe this is mostly intentional or by design so that prosecutors have more latitude in decision-making with regard to how they choose to interpret various components of the statute or established law, especially when definitions for terms like “reasonable” are missing. In other words, if the state doesn’t define “reasonable”, the prosecuting attorney gets to decide what "reasonable" is. If your definition of "reasonable" differs from the prosecutors, then the prosecutor will let a jury decide who's definition is correct. This is never good for a law-abiding citizen, acting in good faith while protecting self or family.

    To summarize:
    • Laws can differ greatly from state-to-state. This is especially true where firearms are concerned & the legal use of force.
    • Know the rules of the road before heading to another state with your firearms.
    • If you own firearms, have a complete understanding of the laws in your home state, specifically related to possession, storage, transportation and using a firearm for self defense.
    • Click > HERE < for a useful source of information regarding firearm laws by state.


    The Minnesota Department of Public Safety has approved United Association of Personal Defense Instructors (UAPDI) as a permit-to-carry instructor training organization. UAPDI is authorized to certify individuals to teach the Minnesota permit-to-carry class. UAPDI is registered as a Minnesota non-profit corporation.

    Other certified instructor training organizations can be found on the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension WEB site.

    Use of this website (uapdi.com) does not constitute legal advice. This website is provided for informational purposes only. Written or verbal communication made by site owners or site members is to be considered neither legal advice nor a recommendation for any particular course of action to a specific event, situation or scenario that you, the reader may experience or have experienced. Anyone seeking legal advice needs to contact a licensed attorney.

    If you wish to express comments regarding the contents of this site, feel free to send email or regular mail to the address below. UAPDI is not currently accepting applications for new instructors.


    Lance Jahnke
    United Association of Personal Defense Instructors
    NRA Pistol Instructor
    Graduate of MAG20 as offered by the Massad Ayoob Group

    Instructors no longer certified by UAPDI


    This section is specific to Minnesota with regard to obtaining a permit to carry a firearm.

    Welcome to the United Association of Personal Defense Instructors (UAPDI). This site contains information related to firearms with specific topics relating to permit-to-carry, also generally referred to (sometimes incorrectly) as CCW or CHL depending on which state you are from.

    This WEB site is currently a closed site meaning that user registrations are not accepted at this time. In other words, this site is read-only.

    From time-to-time there might be important news or community announcements that will be posted here.
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