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Minnesota Legislature

Uncased weapons in a vehicle

Published (2/20/2009)
By Sue Hegarty
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Hunters may be allowed to have an uncased, albeit unloaded, weapon in their vehicle, according to a bill approved by the House Game, Fish and Forestry Division Feb. 16.

The bill would overturn a long-standing requirement that guns and bows must be kept in a case while inside a motor vehicle, in the trunk, or the bow must be unstrung.

Rep. David Dill (DFL-Crane Lake), the sponsor of HF128, said the legislation is “long overdue” and doesn’t change the fact that rifles can’t be loaded or discharged from a motor vehicle or boat. What it does change, said Dill, is the ability to move from one hunting location to another without being required to unload, store, uncase and reload a firearm.

But statistics show that higher incidences of firearms-related accidents occur among states that do not have gun case laws, according to a 10-year study by the International Hunter Education Association.

That’s one of the reasons the Department of Natural Resources’ Enforcement Division does not support the bill. Mike Hammer, the division’s recreational vehicle coordinator, also speculated that cities and counties that rely on the state’s current gun-case requirement for their own enforcement criteria will disagree with the changes and enact their own gun-case ordinances, causing potential confusion among hunters.

The bill now goes to the House Environment Policy and Oversight Committee. It has no Senate companion.

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