This depends on why they were taken away. For a Minnesota Felony Conviction, you can restore your gun rights in two ways. One is by receiving a pardon or by Court Order. Pardons require a person to have a clean record for 5 or 10 years (depending on the charge) and a person must apply to the Pardon Board. However, crimes of violence especially those involving firearms are very rarely granted. Second is by a request for Judicial Restoration or Court Order. This has less requirements than a Pardon, because it only requires that the person has been released from physical confinement and that they can make a showing of good cause to have their gun rights returned. This often involves a petition, a hearing, statements from the person requesting restoration, and potentially statements form other community members.
If you have a misdemeanor conviction that Federally restricts you from possessing firearms a Court Order in Minnesota will not help as Minnesota does not consider you ineligible. But there are a few potential other options to restore your gun rights when you are considered ineligible under Federal Law. Typically, this is done by trying to change the underlying misdemeanor conviction or having that conviction set aside.
How can I lose my Civil Rights, including my Firearm/Gun Rights, in Minnesota?
A person can lose certain civil rights by Judicial Order or by conviction for a felony in Minnesota. Often times a Judge will place restrictions on people as part of their sentence, for example a condition of probation on a domestic case may be that you are not allowed to possess, own, carry, or use firearms. A probationary condition like this is removed once you have successfully completed probation and been discharge. The other way a person can lose their civil rights, including voting rights and gun rights, is when they have been convicted of a felony. In Minnesota, a person who is convicted of a Felony automatically has their civil rights restored upon discharge of their sentence (by Court Order or expiration of their Sentence). However, if you have been convicted of a Crime of Violence you have a lifetime ban on shipping, transporting, possessing, or receiving firearms unless you restore your civil rights.
What is a crime of violence?
A Crime of Violence is always a felony conviction but it only applies to certain offenses. Examples of those offenses are: Murder, Assault, Robbery, Kidnapping, Criminal Sexual Conduct, Arson, Harassment, and Controlled Substance (Drug) Offenses. Additionally, people who have pled to one of these types of offenses under a Stay of Imposition, meaning after probation it is considered a misdemeanor, will still be ineligible even though the conviction does not appear to be a Felony.
I am not a Felon, but I still cannot get a firearm. Why is that?
Often, if a person has a misdemeanor conviction for a crime of violence, then it is possible their firearm rights were taken under Federal Law. Federal Law states that a person is ineligible to ship, transport, possess, or receive firearms if they have been convicted of a Misdemeanor Crime of Domestic Violence. A Misdemeanor Crime of Domestic Violence must be a conviction for an offense where physical force, attempted use of physical force, or threatened use of a deadly weapon was used against a current or former spouse or partner, guardian, parent of a child in common, or someone who lives in the same household. This includes misdemeanor assault, domestic assault, and even disorderly conduct conviction.