What Are Minnesota's Gun Laws Like? Philando Castile Had A Firearm Permit
Philando Castile was fatally shot by a police officer at a traffic stop on Wednesday night in Falcon Heights, Minnesota. Castile was a black American who was killed within 48 hours of another police shooting of a black man — Alton Sterling in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. According to Castile's girlfriend, the officer asked Castile to take out his ID, and after informing the officer that he had a legal firearm on him, he was shot while reaching for his wallet. Castile had a permit to carry his weapon, raising the question: What are Minnesota's gun laws like?
Castile's girlfriend, Lavisha Reynolds, shared a live video to Facebook of the aftermath of the shooting. In the video, she says, "He killed my boyfriend. He let the officer know that he had a firearm, and he was reaching for his wallet, and the officer just shot him in his arm."
According to Minnesota law, an individual must have a permit to "possess or control a concealable firearm in a public place." A county sheriff can issue a permit to any individual who is over 21 years of age, is trained to safely use a handgun, is a citizen or permanent resident, and has passed a background check. Because Castile had a permit to carry his concealed weapon, whether he had the weapon on his person or not, he was legally allowed to carry his gun.
In Reynolds' video of their encounter with law enforcement, she says, "They shot him three times 'cause we had a busted taillight. He asked [Castile] for license and registration. He told [the officer] that it was in his wallet, but he had a pistol on him because he's licensed to carry." Based on Minnesota's gun laws, it was Castile's right to own and carry the weapon. In a nation that so often resists gun control, why was Castile's right to own and carry a legal gun deemed threatening by the officer who took his life?
In an interview with CNN, Castile's mother, Valerie Castile, says that they always discussed the importance of complying with law enforcement. She said, "He had a permit to carry. But with all of that, trying to do the right thing and live accordingly, abide the law, he was killed by the law ... I think he's just black in the wrong place." While black people make up just 13 percent of the U.S. population, 31 percent of Americans killed by police in 2012 were black, according to Vox.
The shooting is under investigation by the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension Assistance.