I went to the St Paul Union Depot this past week. Hung off Door 1 entrance was a big sign with 17 rules plastered on it.
Number 7 of the 17th rule for the St Paul Union Depot, a multi-million dollar rehabilitation/restoration of a historic public building states that members of the public who have “permit to carry” need to do the following “carrying of firearms except as permitted under 609.66 sub.1g(b)” I looked and said what does that mean?
So I looked up Minnesota State Statute 609.66, subdivision, 1g(b). The specific section is the following:
(b) Unless a person is otherwise prohibited or restricted by other law to possess a dangerous weapon, this subdivision does not apply to:
(1) licensed peace officers or military personnel who are performing official duties;
(2) persons who carry pistols according to the terms of a permit issued under section624.714 and who so notify the sheriff or the commissioner of public safety, as appropriate;
This means if you have a permit to carry and are carrying a pistol you have to send a note to Sheriff Bostrom of Ramsey County before you go into the St. Paul Union Depot. Very similar if you wish to do so at the Minnesota Capitol, you would send a note to the Commissioner of Public Safety.
My understanding of the “Permit to Carry” law allows a law-abiding citizen to generally enter a public building with a pistol if they are permitted under the law 624.714. Of course there are exceptions for schools and court houses (Ramsey County Court House) under judicial order and other situations.
I knew the policy (Rule 7) was wrong. Many people who are law-abiding could run into possible felony charges because of what the rule stated if they violated it, on the other hand, people would not be able to ascertain their legal rights to permit to carry if the rule was wrong..
I decided to call Ramsey County Sheriff Spokesperson, Randy Gustafson.
I asked Mr. Gustafson if the Sheriff has received any letters from permit to carry holders to comply with the law when they visit the St Paul Union Depot per Minnesota State Statute 609.66, subdivision. 1g(b). He was surprised by the question it seemed. He had not heard of the rule for the Depot, but he was aware of the Minnesota Capitol situation. He indicated he would get back to me.
Since the St Paul Union Depot is owned and operated by Ramsey County I decided to contact them. I eventually made contact with Josh Collins, Communications Manager at Ramsey County Regional Rail Authority
I stated to Mr. Collins that I think your rules in regards to “permit to carry” is wrong for the Union Depot. It is denying people their legal rights per 624.714 (Permit to Carry law). Can you tell me why you have the policy of having to send a letter to Sheriff Bostrom? He stated he would get back to me.
Low and behold, Mr. Gustafson got back to me the following day. The Sheriff’s spokesman stated the “Sheriff’s office was not involved in crafting or reviewing…..the building rules.” Mr. Gustafson also indicated he made contact with Mr. Collins.
Later on that day, Mr Collins left voice mail stating that they had the “wrong code” on their rules. It was not their intention to “overly restrict” the public building. He did admit that the County does not have the authority to implement the notification provision for the St Paul Union Depot. It was an “innocent mistake.” Possibly by someone taking the sign that was being used at the Court House, he stated. The signs at the St Paul Union Depot will be changed to reflect what the law is.
Over the years since the “Permit to Carry” law passed I have seen a number of times numerous public buildings with postings which say no firearms, period. In other words, even though legal to have a permit to carry in a public building you are told you cannot, even though you can. This just happened recently several months ago with a public library.. Had sign posted which said no firearms. I said to the head person that it was wrong to post that sign because it causes confusion for the law abiding person who has every legal right to do so per the state statute. There was no real comment, but the person knew I was right.
No matter what your view is on “permit to carry” laws, I illustrate my experience in this post with a much broader point in mind.
That point is to question policies and rules that you think are not correct. If the rules and policies are contrary to law or your constitutional rights, say something, do something, if not, a good possibility no one will.