Minnesota Handgun Carry Permit No Longer Alternative to NICS Background Check

When this article was first written in 2017, the Minnesota Handgun Carry Permit had just been approved by the ATF as an alternative to the normally required FBI NICS background check prior to the transfer of a firearm from an FFL to a customer. As of then, Minnesota Handgun Carry Permits with expiration dates of Aug. 1, 2019 and later qualified as a NICS exemption.

However, that approval has since been rescinded. This means that although Minnesota Handgun Carry Permits were valid as exemptions to background checks for a couple of years, they are no longer valid and a regular NICS check must be run when purchasing a firearm from a dealer.

NICS Background Check Exemptions

The Brady Handgun Violence Protection Act of 1993 (Brady) required, among other things, federal background checks for firearm purchases from Federal Firearms Licenses (FFLs). Later, in 1998, the FBI created the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS). After a customer fills out the Firearm Transfer Record (Form 4473), the FFL must normally conduct a background check through NICS by phone or computer.

Some states have decided to do these background checks themselves instead of rely on the federal NICS system. These states are called Point of Contact (POC) states. Some other states use their own system for some purchases (e.g. handguns) and NICS for others (e.g. rifles and shotguns). These hybrid states are called partial-POC states. FFLs in POC and partial-POC states must use their respective local system for background checks for certain/all firearms. Our Get Your FFL course covers the requirements of each state for more information.

As an exemption to the NICS requirement for non-POC states, some state-issued CCW/handgun-carry permits can be used. This is because the background check process for some of these states is at least as good as the check performed by NICS. This saves time for both the FFL and eases the burden on NICS. When a customer presents a qualifying permit, the FFL can simply check question #21 on the Form 4473 which reads, “No NICS check was required because the transferee/buyer has a valid permit from the State where the transfer is to take place, which qualifies as an exemption to NICS” and fill out the information about the qualifying permit.

Qualifying NICS-exempt Permits

The ATF maintains a list of qualifying permits that can be used for exemptions to the NICS requirement. Each qualifying permit has its own requirements (see below) but all of them qualify as alternatives to the background check requirements of the Brady law for no more than 5 years from the date of issuance. This is why states with permits that last longer than 5 years aren’t on this list.

This chart is only valid as of the date of this article. You must check to see current information on ATF’s website.

If you signed up for either our Get Your FFL or ATF Compliance course, you would receive an automatic update of this change, and all other firearm rules and regulations changes, straight to your email inbox.

State / TerritoryQualifying Permits
AlabamaConcealed weapons permit issued on or after August 1, 2013, qualifies as an alternative to the background check requirement.
AlaskaConcealed weapons permits marked NICS-Exempt
American SamoaNone
ArizonaConcealed weapons permits qualify.
ArkansasConcealed weapons permits issued on or after April 1, 1999 qualify. *
CaliforniaEntertainment Firearms Permit only
DelawareNone *
District of ColumbiaNone *
FloridaNone *
GeorgiaGeorgia firearms licenses qualify.
GuamNone *
HawaiiPermits to acquire and licenses to carry qualify.
IdahoConcealed weapons permits qualify.
IowaPermits to acquire and permits to carry concealed weapons qualify.
KansasConcealed handgun licenses issued on or after July 1, 2010 qualify as alternatives to the background check.
KentuckyConcealed Deadly Weapons License (CDW) and Judicial Special Status CDW issued on or after July 12, 2006 qualify.
LouisianaConcealed handgun permits issued on or after March 9, 2015 qualify.
MaineNone *
MarylandNone *
MassachusettsNone *
MichiganLicenses to Purchase a Pistol qualify. Concealed Pistol Licenses (CPLs) issued on or after November 22, 2005, qualify as an alternative to a National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) check. CPLs issued prior to November 22, 2005 and Temporary Concealed Pistol Licenses do not qualify as NICS alternative.
MississippiLicense to carry concealed pistol or revolver issued to individuals under Miss. Stat. Ann. § 45-9-101 qualify. (NOTE: security guard permits issued under Miss. Stat. Ann. §97-37-7 do not qualify).
MissouriNone *
MontanaConcealed weapons permits qualify.
NebraskaConcealed handgun permit qualifies as an alternative. Handgun purchase certificates qualify.
NevadaConcealed carry permit issued on or after July 1, 2011, qualify.
New HampshireNone
New JerseyNone
New MexicoNone
New YorkNone
North CarolinaPermits to purchase a handgun and concealed handgun permits qualify.
North DakotaConcealed weapons permits issued on or after December 1, 1999 qualify. *
Northern Mariana IslandsNone
OhioConcealed weapons permits issued on or after March 23, 2015, qualifies as an alternative to the background check requirements.
OklahomaNone *
OregonNone *
Puerto RicoNone
Rhode IslandNone
South CarolinaConcealed weapons permits qualify.
South DakotaNone *
TexasConcealed weapons permits qualify.
U.S. Virgin IslandsNone
UtahConcealed weapons permits qualify.
WashingtonConcealed pistol license issued on or after July 22, 2011 qualify.
West VirginiaConcealed handgun license issued on or after June 4, 2014 qualify.
WyomingConcealed weapons permits qualify.
Ryan Cleckner is a former special operations sniper and current attorney specializing in firearms law/ATF compliance and is a firearms industry executive (former govt. relations manager for NSSF, Vice President of Remington Outdoor Company, and a SAAMI voting board member).

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One thought on “Minnesota Handgun Carry Permit No Longer Alternative to NICS Background Check

  1. Douglas Stewart

    When I went into my local shop today 10/30/18, I was told that Minnesota was no longer with the exempt program of NICS. I still neaded to do the back ground check, Eventhough I had bought one gun a week there for the last 3 weeks with out the need to wait for a NICS check. ATF changed the exemption rule about 4 weeks ago and told no one. He had started hearing rumors and started checking on his own. Found out this morning that Minnesota lost the exemption because of sanctuary cities within the state. If anyone has more information about this, or pleople with information please share it.

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