Saturday, January 28th, 2023
Saturday, January 28th, 2023

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Firearms transport law sparks confusion

Hinckley, Minn. – Really?

That’s what some conservation officers in the state say is many
people’s first question when they hear about the new regulations
that apply to the transport of firearms.

“It’s such a change they want to make sure that’s really what
they are reading,” said Capt. Ken Soring, regional enforcement
supervisor for the DNR in Grand Rapids.

Lawmakers during this year’s legislative session changed state
rules governing the transport of firearms in vehicles. They said
the law would ease the burden on hunters who in the past have had
to case their guns when traveling from one hunting field to

Firearms transport rules have been “around for the lifetimes of
almost all of the hunters out there,” said Mike Hammer, DNR
Enforcement Division education program director.

While the rules have applied to the crow season that began in
July, officers say the upcoming seasons – bear and dove hunts begin
Sept. 1, and the early goose season kicks off Sept. 5 – will be the
first real indication of the law’s effect.

The 2009 Minnesota Hunting and Trapping Regulations Handbook
lays out the law like this:

€ People may transport unloaded, uncased firearms in a motor
vehicle, including ATVs, under these circumstances: while at a
shooting range with permission; while lawfully hunting on private
or public land; or while travelling to or from a site the person
intends to hunt or has lawfully hunted that day.

€ There are exceptions to the law. Firearms still must be
transported unloaded and cased in the following situations: within
Anoka, Hennepin, or Ramsey counties; within an area where firearms
discharge has been prohibited; within a city with a population of
2,500 or more; on school grounds; as otherwise restricted in game
refuges, shining or night vision laws.

“There’s going to be a learning curve,” said Bret Grundmeier, a
CO in Hinckley. “We are going to have some issues, I’m guessing,
given all the confusion I’m getting from the public.”

During firearm safety and adult bowhunting classes he has
taught, about half the people haven’t heard about the new law. And
there were a couple of weeks when he was asked about the new law a
half-dozen or more times.

“On one topic, when we get that many questions, that means there
are a lot of people who are confused,” Grundmeier said.

The main point of confusion: “People are calling me and saying
they are shocked they can just throw their firearm in a vehicle and
go. But that’s not the case,” he said.

Grundmeier tells hunters to consult the regulations book, and
offers this additional advice: “You have to have a hunting license
in your possession, the season has to be open, and you have to be
going to and from hunting (spots).”

Hammer tells people to at least carry their gun cases with them.
They can avoid any potential violation of the law by unloading
their guns and putting them in cases, he said.

Otherwise, they should keep in mind the new law doesn’t cover
the entire state, he said.

“Depending on where you are at the time, especially when you are
going a distance, you may travel in and out of places it’s OK (to
have an unloaded, uncased firearm) and places it’s not OK,” Hammer
said. “There is the potential to get yourself cross-ways with the
law if you don’t know exactly where you’re at.”

Soring says all hunters should continue to treat firearms as if
they are loaded.

Be believes many people will continue to case their

Some callers have said “they still intend to case their firearms
because it protects their firearms,” Soring said. “I think that’s
what we might see mostly.”

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