Court rules gun law unconstitutional

Ryan Dionne

MCorrection: The story mischaracterized the effect the court ruling on Minnesota’s conceal and carry law will have. Under the ruling, Minnesotans who have been issued permits can still legally carry concealed guns. With the law overturned, it is not illegal to carry guns; rather, the process for issuing permits will change.

Minnesotans can no longer carry concealed guns in the state after the Minnesota Court of Appeals ruled it unconstitutional Tuesday.

The ruling upholds a Minnesota constitutional requirement that two unrelated laws cannot be attached and passed into law.

“The judges basically applied what the constitution says for the state of Minnesota,” said Timothy Johnson, political science professor.

The bill passed after it was added onto an unrelated Minnesota Department of Natural Resources bill.

Johnson said the tactic has been used in the past, but usually the opposition calls attention to it, and the tacked-on bill doesn’t pass.

For this bill, the opposition did bring up the constitutional violation but failed to keep the law from passing, Johnson said.

“From what I can tell, (the Republicans) had the votes in the (State) Senate to get it passed through there,” he said.

But starting Tuesday, people who conceal and carry guns in Minnesota will be doing so illegally.

The judges in this case followed the constitution very closely, Johnson said.

University student Nicholas Morrison is happy with the court ruling, he said.

“I think the streets are safer now that people cannot conceal and carry,” Morrison said.

He thinks only a small portion of Minnesotans want to lawfully conceal firearms, Morrison said.

Morrison, who works at a restaurant that bans guns on its premises, said people shouldn’t be allowed to have guns in the first place.

He said it is ridiculous that the restaurant must put up signs on the door prohibiting guns inside.

“(Minnesota) should never have allowed (the conceal-and-carry law) in the first place,” he said.

But Morrison said he does not think that carrying guns should be banned completely. He said it is not right to allow people to have a machine gun in the glove compartment of a car.

Scott Tiedke, the University’s Hunting and Fishing club vice president, said the ruling will affect one of his friends, but it does not affect him directly.

“Overall, as a hunter, (the conceal-and-carry law) really didn’t affect us much because we’re carrying shotguns and rifles,” Tiedke said.

“You can’t really conceal and carry a rifle, anyway,” he said.

But being unable to carry firearms does infringe on people’s rights, Tiedke said, and he said he thinks the conceal-and-carry law could pass again.

Johnson and Morrison, however, said they are not so sure the law will pass again.

Though the appeals court ruled the law unconstitutional, the Minnesota Supreme Court could overturn the decision.