Concel and carry

I read an article in the Star Tribune about the number of Minnesota citizens who have permits to carry concealed handguns.

The number was really high and higher per capita than many other states. The laws of the state that allowed a citizen to carry a concealed handgun went into the books in Minnesota in the early 2000s.

I am an instructor for this class and had over 300 people certified through my class offerings. When the law was being debated in the legislature, there was all of the standard frantic opposition that the world was going to come to an end. I heard at least 100 times that road rage incidents and bar fights would result in thousands of Minnesotans losing their lives every year.

The facts of the matter actually show that states with conceal and carry laws have less crime and lower rates of assault and other violent crimes than states that don’t offer this protection to their citizens. As the facts about conceal and carry have become more disseminated, the average citizen’s concerns about handguns and lawful owners carrying them has seemed to subside a little.

The statistics about carry permit owners are really interesting.  When comparing carry permit holders to non-carry permit holders, the rates of DWI arrests, drug convictions and assaults are anywhere between 90 to 95 percent lower for permit holders than the general population at large. This shows that lawful gun owners are a responsible bunch and less likely to be involved in almost all forms of violent crime.

A permit to carry class covers many different aspects of firearms use. It starts with a personal protection plan to avoid situations where you could be a potential victim. Much time is spent on avoiding life and death situations in the first place. Being aware of what is going on around you is key to not being taken by surprise.

How different handguns operate and their proper use is also a big part. Helping individuals select the right kind of handgun is important.  A gun that fits your hand that you feel comfortable with goes a long way to proper handling and confidence.

The interactions with law enforcement and all of the ins and outs of when a person can actually use deadly force to protect yourself, your loved ones or even a complete stranger is a critical element of any class. There are strict rules that apply if you defend yourself with a handgun and don’t want to end up in a lengthy jail sentence as a result of that defense.

Minnesota has an actual shooting requirement so every student has to load and unload and discharge an actual handgun. Being able to handle the firearm and understanding its basic functions and operation are required to receive a training certificate. If you then pass the background check and pay the necessary fees, the permit is good for five years and then you have to repeat the entire process again.

Some states allow a person to carry a handgun after completing an online class. Others allow their residents to carry a gun with no permit at all. Different states have reciprocity with other states that meet their requirements. 

The Minnesota permit at one time was honored by about 23 other states, but these agreements change almost every year so it is very important for permit holders to check often if they plan to travel out of state.

In the end, the fact that Minnesotans carry has not changed the landscape noticeably for anyone except the person who might attack you. They now need to think twice before they take the chance you might be able to defend yourself. 

I am planning on having a class about once per month from now until November, and each class has eight to 10 participants. If you are interested in a permit to carry, contact me for more information and costs.


Scott Rall, Worthington, is a habitat conservationist, avid hunting and fishing enthusiast and is president of Nobles County Pheasants Forever. He can be reached at or on Twitter @habitat champion

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