Reality Check: Minnesota Firearm Background Checks

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(credit: CBS) Pat Kessler
Pat Kessler knows Minnesota politics. He's been on the beat long...
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ST. PAUL (WCCO) — Like all 50 states, Minnesota gun dealers are required to do a background check on weapons purchases.

Minnesota’s better than many states, but there are gaping holes in the system.

Minnesota gun dealers use the National Instant Criminal Background Check System to verify the records of gun buyers. But the data base does not include the names of millions of people who cannot legally own a weapon.

IT’S TRUE. Minnesota and federal law prohibit gun ownership for: Drug offenders, fugitives, domestic abusers, felons, illegal immigrants, dishonorable discharges, stalkers and several categories of mentally ill.

However, it’s hard for gun dealers to always get accurate information.

IN FACT, a 50-state study by Mayors Against Illegal Guns found Minnesota submitted 3,960 mental health records to the NICS in 2011. Minnesota ranks 18th.

That’s pretty good, nationally, but in 2010, the state submitted no records at all.


Minnesota reported 556 cases of gun restrictions for substance abuse in 2011. But it’s still difficult to access criminal records of people who are not permitted to own a weapon or who lie on their applications.

Here’s you NEED TO KNOW:

Up to 40 percent of gun purchases require no background check at all. Those include weapons purchased at gun shows or in private sales. One more gaping hole in the background check system:

In 2010, nearly 80,000 gun buyers lied on their application. But there have only been 44 prosecutions.

That’s Reality Check.

Here are some of the sources used for Reality Check:
President Obama Proposal to Restrict Gun Violence
National Instant Criminal Background Check
Helping States Provide Records for Background Checks
Minnesota Justice Information Services
Denials of Gun Permits
Nat’l Institute of Justice Study on Gun Ownership
Mayors Against Illegal Guns 50-State Study of Gun Laws
MN Uniform Firearm Application
Helping States Provide Records for Background Checks
Minnesota Justice Information Services
Denials of Gun Permits
NRA Institute for Legislative Action
Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence

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