Minnesota Supreme Court: Disassembled guns still considered firearms under state law, even when parts are missing

(St. Paul, MN)  —  The Minnesota Supreme Court says a disassembled gun is still considered a firearm under state law, even if it can’t be fired.  

The high court upheld the conviction of Corey Stone, a man found guilty of illegally possessing a firearm, even though he was only carrying pieces of a disassembled shotgun. The majority ruling said dismissing the conviction would allow felons to get away with selling or possessing guns by simply removing the firing pin temporarily. 

“Under Minnesota Statutes section 609.165, subdivision 1b(a) (2022), which criminalizes the possession of a firearm by a person convicted of a crime of violence, a group of disassembled and incomplete shotgun parts can be a “firearm”—an instrument designed for attack or defense that expels a projectile by some explosive force,” said the opinion written by Justice Chutich, “The evidence is sufficient to support appellant’s conviction under Minnesota Statutes section 609.165, subdivision 1b(a), despite the firearm being disassembled and incomplete.”

The dissent, written by Justice Paul C. Thissen and joined by Justices Lorie Skjerven Gildea and G. Barry Anderson, says the separate pieces of most of a firearm do not make the items into a firearm.

“The statute prohibits possession of an object called a firearm—a weapon designed to be used for attack or defense. State v. Glover, 952 N.W.2d 190 (Minn. 2020). The reason the Legislature prohibits persons who have been convicted of a crime of violence from possessing a firearm is because it is concerned that the person will use the firearm as a weapon and hurt someone. A person who has some of, but not all of, the parts of a firearm such that the firearm cannot be assembled sufficiently to be used as designed—as a weapon—does not possess a firearm.”

You can read the Minnesota Supreme Court Opinion by clicking here

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