ST. PAUL, Minn. (WCCO) — Minnesota set a record last year for the number of gun background checks the FBI conducted in the state.

More people are carrying guns than ever before, but the crime rate remains relatively low. WCCO’s Pat Kessler is looking at the numbers, and giving them a Reality Check.

We took a hard look at the numbers, and found: Minnesota has a high rate of gun ownership, and a relatively low rate of violent crime.

Minnesota’s violent crime rate hit a 50-year low in 2016, according to the FBI.

And in 2017, the state set a new record for firearms background checks.

The National Instant Criminal Background Check System reports it processed nearly 683,544 checks on gun buyers in 2017. That includes: 473,975 permits, 94,383 handguns and 125,516 long guns.

Minnesota set another 2017 record, too.

The State Department of Public Safety reports 283,188 Minnesotans now have permits to legally carry firearms in public.

In 2017, the state issued 57,651 permits to carry a weapon in public. That’s down from a record 71,156 permits issued in 2016.

There’s still a lot we don’t know about guns in Minnesota. An estimated 36.7 percent of Minnesotans own at least one firearm.

But we don’t know how many total guns there are in the state, or exactly how many gun owners there are, or how much ammunition is sold every year.

Comments (86)
  1. Somebody wrote a book about it called”More guns less crime”

    1. 6% of the population commit 52% of all murders. Can you guess which group? Hint: they ‘matter’.

      1. It Used to be that Family was important, Christ was important, and Crime was Low..

      2. John Dendy says:

        No problem. It is blacks followed closely my illegals

    2. Tam Cohen says:

      More Guns, Less Crime by John R Lott, Jr.

  2. Hans Zink says:

    Good going Minnesotans! Now watch, dopey Pat Kesslar will come up with some phoney numbers trying to make you look bad. After all, he is a liberal. Damn near called him a liar. Wait a second, he’s that too.

  3. Doug Day says:

    Whites are a fairly civilized bunch.

    1. yeah?? Most mass shootings are white males.. Care to explain that????

      1. There is a benefit to our policy of having armed citizens that ole Pat Kessler has never (and I mean NEVER) thought of. America has the oldest government on the planet (or second oldest depending on how you define changes to UK governance). The American government has been extremely stable. The most common form of overthrow is the coup. America has never had one because the people will not stand for it and the people are armed. It is a shame how people like Pat cannot conceive of this huge benefit we all enjoy. Please note: the price does not come cheap. Guns are used to kill and sometimes people use them to kill people who didn’t need it.

        1. Bob Gonnella says:

          “The most common form of overthrow is the coup. America has never had one because the people will not stand for it and the people are armed.”

          I am surprised that this fake news has gone unnoticed this long. That would be JFK.

      2. I will. You are WRONG!

        Google: “Are mass shootings a white man’s problem?” https : // theconversationDOTcom/are-mass-shootings-a-white-mans-problem-85286

        Google: “Are Most Mass Murderers Really White?” https : // wwwDOTamericanthinkerDOTcom/articles/2014/06/are_most_mass_murderers_really_whiteDEOThtml

        1. Bob Steele says:

          You can’t fix stupid or crazy. You can add up all of the mass murders committed by young whites and it will still be fewer than young black men kill in Chicago and Baltimore every year.

      3. jsolbakken says:

        It’s very simple, really. When some people are severely mentally ill, they can commit horrendous violent crimes. Other people commit horrific violent crimes because it is their ingrained culture.

      4. Glad that you asked. It’s because white still make up the majority of the population. So it stands to reason that by the numbers there will be more crazy people involved in mass shootings. Now if we break it down by demographics it indicates that more of blacks and Hispanics are involved in gun related violence of all kinds and not just focusing our attention on mass shooting.

        This validates the comment that generally whites are fairly civilized when it comes to overall violence, mass shooting and all forms of gun related violence.

        If we examine the races strictly on percentages versus gun related crime, instead of the raw numbers, its quite easy to determine which race of humans are the least civilized when it comes to gun related violence.

        Now this is not saying that this observation is made as a comment against genetics, which is a factor all be it a small one. No it’s more a comment on overall social conditions and a feeling of worth or worthlessness and false pride based on one’s ethnicity coupled with social beliefs of superiority or inferiority based on ethnicity that causes this. I hope that you were able to comprehend this. If you have other questions about it feel free to ask.

  4. Kesslar says:
    “But we don’t know how many total guns there are in the state, or exactly how many gun owners there are, or how much ammunition is sold every year.” And you will never find out.

  5. Lilith Whyte says:

    What hypocrisy! Minnesotans love their guns, yet they vote for the gun grabbing democrats. It looks like they want to control “other peoples” guns.

    1. Todd Carlson says:

      Voting Democrat has sold more guns than any amount of advertising could ever achieve.

  6. adorabledplorable, that book was written by John Lott I believe.

  7. Dirk Mudge says:

    Amazing Kessler reported this. But I have this question. Why are all those stats he wishes we had relevant anyway? Switzerland has more guns per capita than anywhere on earth and very little gun violence.

    1. Jeff Gibson says:

      Minnesota women will feel REAL LIBERATION, not phony liberation, when they learn to pack a defensive weapon like women do in Oregon. Lots of the ladies here pack weapons and the men are exceedingly polite because men don’t know which ones do, and which ones don’t.

  8. you could tell the reporter wasn’t happy….thats why he ened with more qiestions

  9. Phil Davison says:

    This state is full of demoncrat socialists. Somebodys not being consistent.

  10. Legal gun ownership reduces “gun violence”, but the deranged left will never understand or accept that fact.

  11. So what you’re saying is, if there are background checks, it helps prevent gun violence?

  12. Every one of these reporters who refers to an AR-15 as an assault rifle is either ignorant or a liar. Americans cannot buy assault rifles without a special permit from the government.

    1. Art Clough says:

      You should tell that to the stupid little people on late night tv

  13. Dave Allen says:

    All theses guns doesn’t sound safe to me, if I break in someones house I don’t want to get shot. Guns should be banned.

    1. Jay Kerouac says:

      @ Dave Allen – I agree… should be able to break into people’s houses without worrying about being the victim of violent crime.

  14. We must do something to reduce the threat to criminal lives from law abiding citizens!

    — Democrats

  15. Rico Ventura says:

    Pat, if 36.7 percent of Minnesotans own guns, and you know how many people live in Minnesota, how can you say we do not know how many gun owners there are? And who cares how much ammunition is sold every year? You are truly a dolt.

  16. And just why would you want to know about how much ammunition was purchased, how many people own guns and how many total guns there are in the state? Do you want a record to be able to confiscate them, why else would you want this information?

  17. Mark Idaho says:

    Pat also does not have a clue about guns. Why is there a need to know how much ammo or how many guns are owned? It’s time you get some education about guns. Can you do that without needing to find a safe place?

  18. How did Minnesota change into an alt-Left anti-white state that willfully imports Muslims?? Was it the white liberal Californians that fled the cesspool they created in the West?

  19. I expect a lot of people aren’t going to like the demographic research results. I bet the population skews WHITE and SKEWS OLDER and SKEWS RURAL. Anybody living in urban cities knows who’s committing the crimes and who’s being victimized by them. If true, then we just have to decide what to do about it!

  20. Bruce Bair says:

    Thirty-nine percent gun ownership is in line with other places, a bit high maybe, but the percent of households with guns hasn’t changed much. People with guns are getting more guns, which is why the numbers of guns seems to have no influence on gun incidents. You can only use one at a time, generally.

  21. Paul B. says:

    It seems they didn’t want to explore the relationship between many guns and less crime. Also, I would suggest the high permit numbers for 2016 were due to people afraid of what a Clinton presidency would do to gun ownership.

  22. David Harvey says:

    “but the crime rate remains relatively low.” Sounds like he wanted it to be higher?

  23. Someday Minnesota will annex Minneapolis and we Minnesotans can take the bags of our heads, live free again and carry openly

    1. Boy, this about had to kill ol Pat Kessler to report.

  24. “…carrying guns than ever before, BUT the crime rate remains relatively low. ..” indicates once again the bias of liberal journalists in the Mainstream Media. The “but” shows how incredulous the reporter is that crime went down when the inescapable truth stares him the face, that an armed citizenry lowers crime.

  25. Gi Gene says:

    What did that article about gun control say? Taking away the right to have guns from the law abiding citizens is like cutting off the horns of a Gazelle to protect it from attacking lions.
    If any anti-gun laws are past, the only people affected will be the law abiding citizens.
    Criminals will always have their guns because they do not obey laws to begin with.

  26. If you got linked in from Drudge, you’ll immediately figure out the reporter Pat Kessler is a long time liberal liar and fraud working for WCCO Minnesota. He’s refused to be interviewed by conservative radio hosts for 20+ years. We catch him in a lie, absurd distortions and left wing political bias every time he opens up his sewer drain pipe mouth. How did we get conceal carry and recently obtain sound suppressor legality in MN? We got CCW through before the massive import of illegals and Muslim voters during the Obama-Gov Dayton reign of terror. Suppressors got through, even we were the very last couple of states who hadn’t legalized it. A hearing loss prevention device saving taxpayers millions. Medical related. Gov Dayton’s drug fried brain and porky pig speech pattern couldn’t compete against MN gun owners.

  27. Ken Green says:

    Once again no one talks about second shooter in Florida High school massacre.

  28. Years ago town in So. Utah passed law for mandatory open carry of fine. Crime rate dropped 50% first year, 35%, second, and today have to look. When all knew the crime rate went in the toilet.. People who scream for more gun control, clean up Chicago`s mess of highest murder and crime rate w/ highest gun control laws. So all leftists clean up the mess before screaming for controls i.e. total gun confiscation…..telling us what is best, clear you don`t…

  29. Beer Stein says:

    What is the racial break down of Minnesota. I’m guessing mostly White.

  30. John Woodhar says:

    Thats terrible news if youre a lib. must be a bunch of white supremacists acting like vigilantes.

    Guess our national leaders didn’t expect this. On Thursday, Darrell Scott, the father of Rachel Scott, a victim of the Columbine High School shootings in Littleton, Colorado, was invited to address the House Judiciary Committee’s subcommittee. What he said to our national leaders during this special session of Congress was painfully truthful.

    They were not prepared for what he was to say, nor was it received well. It needs to be heard by every parent, every teacher, every politician, every sociologist, every psychologist, and every so-called expert! These courageous words spoken by Darrell Scott are powerful, penetrating, and deeply personal. There is no doubt that God sent this man as a voice crying in the wilderness.. The following is a portion of the transcript:
    “Since the dawn of creation there has been both good & evil in the hearts of men and women. We all contain the seeds of kindness or the seeds of violence. The death of my wonderful daughter, Rachel Joy Scott, and the deaths of that heroic teacher, and the other eleven children who died must not be in vain. Their blood cries out for answers.

    “The first recorded act of violence was when Cain slew his brother Abel out in the field. The villain was not the club he used.. Neither was it the NCA, the National Club Association. The true killer was Cain, and the reason for the murder could only be found in Cain’s heart.

    “In the days that followed the Columbine tragedy, I was amazed at how quickly fingers began to be pointed at groups such as the NRA. I am not a member of the NRA. I am not a hunter. I do not even own a gun. I am not here to represent or defend the NRA – because I don’t believe that they are responsible for my daughter’s death.

    Therefore I do not believe that they need to be defended. If I believed they had anything to do with Rachel’s murder I would be their strongest opponent.

    I am here today to declare that Columbine was not just a tragedy — it was a spiritual event that should be forcing us to look at where the real blame lies! Much of the blame lies here in this room. Much of the blame lies behind the pointing fingers of the accusers themselves. I wrote a poem just four nights ago that expresses my feelings best.

    Your laws ignore our deepest needs,
    Your words are empty air.
    You’ve stripped away our heritage,
    You’ve outlawed simple prayer.
    Now gunshots fill our classrooms,
    And precious children die.
    You seek for answers everywhere,
    And ask the question “Why?”
    You regulate restrictive laws,
    Through legislative creed.
    And yet you fail to understand,
    That God is what we need!

    “Men and women are three-part beings. We all consist of body, mind, and spirit. When we refuse to acknowledge a third part of our make-up, we create a void that allows evil, prejudice, and hatred to rush in and wreak havoc. Spiritual presences were present within our educational systems for most of our nation’s history. Many of our major colleges began as theological seminaries. This is a historical fact. What has happened to us as a nation? We have refused to honor God, and in so doing, we open the doors to hatred and violence. And when something as terrible as Columbine’s tragedy occurs — politicians immediately look for a scapegoat such as the NRA. They immediately seek to pass more restrictive laws that contribute to erode away our personal and private liberties. We do not need more restrictive laws. Eric and Dylan would not have been stopped by metal detectors. No amount of gun laws can stop someone who spends months planning this type of massacre. The real villain lies within our own hearts.

    “As my son Craig lay under that table in the school library and saw his two friends murdered before his very eyes, he did not hesitate to pray in school. I defy any law or politician to deny him that right! I challenge every young person in America , and around the world, to realize that on April 20, 1999, at Columbine High School prayer was brought back to our schools. Do not let the many prayers offered by those students be in vain. Dare to move into the new millennium with a sacred disregard for legislation that violates your God-given right to communicate with Him. To those of you who would point your finger at the NRA — I give to you a sincere challenge.. Dare to examine your own heart before casting the first stone!

    My daughter’s death will not be in vain! The young people of this country will not allow that to happen!”

    – Darrell Scott
    Do what the media did not – – let the nation hear this man’s speech. Please send this out to everyone you can.
    God Bless

  32. Inverse Correlation = As number of gun owners increases, the number of crimes decreases

  33. vanityofvanitys says:

    I am all in favor of conceal and carry. Because criminals can get guns just as easy as drugs, and drugs are illegal. I would feel better there are trained gun carriers at some gathering than there not being any.
    As far as Minnesota’s claim for more guns and low crime, I do believe demographics play a big part in this. Or is that not allowed to say?

  34. Archie Hyde says:

    Kennasaw, Ga. is trying to get everyone to have, or carry guns. And if you look overseas to Sweden, you will find that they want everyone to go through basic training on guns and have them in their homes. As a consequence, the crime is very low in both places.

  35. Henry Bowman says:

    “More people are carrying guns than ever before, but the crime rate remains relatively low.”


    I do not think that word means what you think it means.