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More firearm permits were issued in Minnesota in 2021 than any other year since the state's Personal Protection Act was enacted.

This marks the second year in a row where Minnesota sheriffs issued a record number of permits to carry, which are good for five years (under Minnesota law, a permit to carry constitutes a permit to purchase).

In 2021, Minnesotans applied for 110,078 permits, according to the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension's (BCA) annual Permit to Carry Report, which is required by law. 

Sheriffs issued a total of 106,488 firearm permits last year. That's up more than 10% compared to 2020 when 96,554 permits were issued. In 2019, sheriffs issued 51,404 permits. 

The total number of valid permits to carry in Minnesota is 387,013 as of March 1. The state doesn't track permits to purchase firearms. 

That's more than 28,000 more valid permits to carry than a year ago and 86,000 more than two years ago. On March 1, 2021, the total number of valid permits in Minnesota was 358,897. On March 2, 2020, the number of valid permits in Minnesota was 301,268.

A closer look at firearm permits

The top five counties where permits were issued in 2021 are all in the Twin Cities metro and represent the state's most populous counties. They are: 

  • Hennepin: 16,888 (total valid permits: 50,140)
  • Ramsey: 7,467 (total valid permits: 24,239)
  • Anoka: 6,988 (total valid permits: 27,672)
  • Dakota: 6,744 (total valid permits: 26,389)
  • Washington: 5,761 (total valid permits: 21,463)

In 2021 statewide, 176 permits were suspended, 40 were revoked, 1,165 were voided and 1,627 were denied. 

Meanwhile, last year the number of individuals with permits to carry who committed crimes was at its highest since the Personal Protection Act was enacted in 2003, with 3,863 crimes committed.

However, that equates to 1% of permit holders who committed a crime, which is consistent with previous years, the BCA said. 

Here's a breakdown of the crimes committed by permit to carry holders in 2021: 

  • 2% involved people using a gun in furtherance of a crime.
  • 61% of the crimes people with permits to carry committed were DWIs or other traffic offenses — there were 902 DWI offenses (10 of which a gun was used in furtherance of the crime) and 1,454 traffic offenses (one of which a gun was used in furtherance of the crime)
  • 19% were "other," such as city ordinance violations, DNR violations, and "less common but more serious offenses such as stalking and riot," the BCA said.
  • 89 assault offenses (13 in which the gun was used, 35 instances where it's not known if the gun was used in furtherance of the crime).
  • 135 were weapon law violations (38 of which the gun was used in furtherance of the crime).
  • 12 homicide offenses (three of which the gun was used in furtherance of the crime).

In total, from 2003-2021 (except for 2004 when there wasn't a report), there have been 18,728 crimes committed by a permit holder, including 620 instances where a gun was used in furtherance of the crime and 8,182 instances where it's unknown or not reported if a gun was used in furtherance of the crime.

In 2021, county sheriffs' revenue from applications for permits to carry totaled $9.125 million.

You can read the full report here and see previous years' reports here

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