Locked up for What!? BB Guns and Prison

Last year, the Minnesota Supreme Court decided that air-powered BB Guns are not firearms under Minnesota’s prohibition on felons possessing weapons. You can read the decision here. You can review the current version of the statute here. What does this mean for this group of Minnesota prisoners?

Well, a lot, really. Those convicted under the statute must be (and presumably have been by now) released from prison. In our eyes, that’s a step in the right direction. It also means–unless the legislature modifies the statute–that felons prohibited from possessing firearms won’t be incarcerated in the future for possessing a BB gun. That’s also a step in the right direction.

Those convicted under this statute may also seek an expungement. An expungement removes the crime from your criminal record. It may also seal the records of other state agencies, such as the Bureau of Criminal Apprehension (the BCA). This is really important. Agencies conducting background checks generally get their information from the BCA rather than the courts.

We can’t do anything about our friend, Google. However, we may obtain a court order erasing part of your criminal history. Many times, our clients are rejected from jobs or licensing based on poor background checks. It’s frustrating. An expungement can help.

Finally, anyone unjustly imprisoned in Minnesota may be entitled to compensation under the Minnesota Imprisonment and Exoneration Remedies Act or “MIERA” (read part of it here). The Minnesota Supreme Court is currently wrestling with that issue. We await their decision.

If you’ve experienced this and need help, contact our office. We can’t get back your time. But we will assist you in attempting any remedies provided by Minnesota law. Let us know how we can help you.