The 2nd Amendment grants "law-abiding, responsible" citizens the right to possess a gun in the home for self-defense, but the right can be restricted for felons, the Minnesota Supreme Court said.
In a ruling Wednesday on a criminal appeal, the court said that felons "fall outside the 2nd Amendment's protection" and can be subject to weapons bans.
The limits of the 2nd Amendment's protections, and the U.S.Supreme Court's interpretation of the amendment, have been hot topics as as the Legislature considers new laws aimed at preventing gun violence.
In this case, the Minnesota court ruled against an appeal by Andrew Anthony Craig. Craig had a previous felony drug conviction when he was arrested, following a report of a domestic disturbance, with a loaded .22 caliber handgun. The arrest occurred in Mounds View in 2009.
Craig was convicted of possession of firearm by an ineligible person and sentenced to five years in prison. In his appeal, he said the state law barring him from possessing a weapon violated his 2nd Amendment right to keep and bear arms. He cited the U.S. Supreme Court case of District of Columbia v. Heller in 2008.
The court turned aside Craig's appeal and ruled that the state can bar felons from possessing weapons
"Felon dispossession statutes, which prohibit felons from possessing firearms, are presumptively lawful because felons fall outside the scope of the Second Amendment's protection," the Minnesota court ruled.
The Minnesota court quoted the U.S. Supreme Court in the Heller case as saying that "nothing in our opinion should be taken to cast doubt on longstanding prohibitions on the possession of firearms by felons and the mentally ill, or laws forbidding the carrying of firearms in sensitive places such as schools and government buildings, or laws imposing conditions and qualifications on the commercial sale of arms."