“Concealed Carry” in Minnesota

“Concealed Carry” is a misnomer in Minnesota when used in reference to our “Personal Protection act of 2003″ (§ 624.714). The more appropriate term for our carry law is “Permit to Carry”

Why? you ask…

In Minnesota, you are not required by any means to conceal your firearm. You can carry it openly, concealed, or on a string around your neck if you want to (I strongly recommend against the latter). If you look at the Minnesota State Statutes § 624.714 the word conceal does not come up one time.

While I do conceal my carry gun most of the time, I do occasionally and strategically enjoy taking advantage of my right to open carry. When I do this, it is done with forethought in attire, location, and company, and always with a contingency plan.

When I open carry, I often go with my kids. Why? Because my kids are cute. Most gun owners are family men, who are concerned and motivated to protect their lives, and the lives of their loved ones. I am the same. When I open carry with my cute kids in tow, the public can see that I’m not a deranged redneck stroking his rifle quoting lines from Full Metal Jacket. I’m just a regular guy, wiping his 1 year old son’s snotty nose, and debating with my 3 year old about what kind of cereal she can have.

Here is a picture of my friend Andrew Rothman from CarryForum.com exhibiting a similar concept:

So if open carry is legal, why conceal?

This is one of the biggest debates in the gun world, and there is no real clear answer. Some people say that concealing gives you the element of surprise, and a tactical advantage. Others say that open-carrying gives you easier access, and is a tactical advantage. Another concern is that if you are open carrying, you will be eliminated first to neutralize a threat, a counterpoint is that the presence of a visible gun will deter a threat. Truth be told there simply isn’t enough data to substantiate any of the previous claims. There are a wide array of good and logical reasons both ways.

The reason I conceal is less tactical, and more practical. I don’t want to be inconvenienced.

This summer, an acquaintance was “cuffed and stuffed” for legally carrying a gun. He had been at Cosby Farm Park in St. Paul, and removed his vest because of the heat. As he was walking through the park he was detained, disarmed, and put in a police vehicle. The officer even said ” it was illegal to carry a pistol in the open” and asked ” if (he) knew what “concealed” meant”. Eventually it was found he had committed no crime, and he was released.

This kind of ignorance is all over the police force. The fact of the matter is, the public, by and large is unfamiliar with carry laws, and unfortunately, so are the police. There is some sound reasoning for this though… Permit holders are by nature, law abiding citizens. With all of the laws police officers are responsible for remembering and enforcing, it stands to reason that since they don’t have problems with legally armed citizens, they don’t invest much time in the laws that pertain to that right. Unfortunately, this ignorance of the law can cause great inconvenience to someone obeying the law. It is because of my desire to avoid situations like this, that I conceal.

Why make a stink about calling it “Conceal Carry”?

There is no requirement for concealing your firearm, thus referring to the law as “Conceal Carry” is not only incorrect, but harmful to public perception of legal gun carriers. I see other instructors, gun shows, and gun clubs all the time that advertise “Conceal Carry Classes”. They know better, but they are simply embracing public nomenclature to better push their service, however they are doing a disservice to the public perception of Minnesota carry laws.

Should everyone open carry, everywhere?

To this, I would say a resounding no. Beside the obvious places we legally cannot carry (schools, post offices, etc.), many locations have made it clear that they do not want our patronage. Though many postings are non-compliant with state law (more to come on that in another post) and some places that cannot legally post (State Fair) provide a tempting open carry target, It’s not smart. Pushing the buttons of these people, will ultimately lead to the legislature opening up our carry law. Then it is open season to change quite a few of the liberties we enjoy. Minnesota currently has one of the best carry laws in the country, and I would not like to see it changed for the worse.

I’ve had the pleasure to meet a couple of the authors of the MNPPA bill, as they tell me, when the bill was making it on it way through the legislature, the anti-gun folks were working so fervently to get the bill opposed in it’s entirety, they didn’t spend any energy trying to get provisions of the bill overturned. As it pertains to open carry, they strategically did not specify the need to conceal, as they could use that as a bargaining chip in bill revisions. It turns out, they never needed to.

Author: Rob Doar

“Concealed Carry” in Minnesota