Thursday, December 10, 2015

Research Q of the Week: Can a Minnesota City Ban Guns? (12/10/15)

Question: Can my city pass an ordinance banning guns in city limits?

Answer: No. You may have heard that the U.S. Supreme Court just refused to hear a challenge to a city ordinance banning assault weapons and semi-automatic guns in city limits. But the idea of a city ordinance banning guns likely does not jibe with state law in Minnesota.

What cities can't do
In Minnesota, the Legislature preempts city authority to ban guns in city limits and does not allow cities “to regulate firearms, ammunition, or their respective components.”

What cities can do
Under that same state law, cities do have the authority to adopt zoning ordinances that govern where a federally licensed firearms dealer may operate a firearms business in a city.

Cities can also regulate the discharge of guns in the city, and as such could pass an ordinance banning the discharge of guns in the city. Common exemptions to a ban include discharge of BB guns, acts of self-defense, firing of blank ammo during a ceremony or performance, or hunting in agricultural zones with permission of the police chief.

We have some sample ordinances if you would like to see them. Just give us a call at (800) 925-1122 or (651) 281-1200 and ask for Research, or send an email to

Written by Jeanette Behr, research manager with the League of Minnesota Cities. Contact: or (651) 281-1228.

This blog post conveys general information. It’s not legal advice. Please check with your city attorney before acting on this information.

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