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Note: The Criminal Justice Statistics Center has been transfered to the Department of Public Safety (DPS). These webpages and datbases are maintained on the Dept. of Administration server for historic purposes, and because replacement services have not been implemented at the DPS. The databases on this site are not being updated and contact information for individuals and offices is likely inaccurate.

Firearm forfeiture database documentation

Reports

  • Gun points 1996: firearms forfeitures in Minnesota, December 1997: Almost half of all firearms forfeited by law enforcement in 1996 were for criminal activities such as drug-related crimes, assault, robbery, theft and traffic violations (13p., 109K, PDF) | report summary
  • Gun points 1997: firearm forfeitures in Minnesota, August 1998: Minnesota law enforcement agencies forfeit hundreds of guns each year. This report , the latest in an annual series , identifies state and regional firearm characteristics, reasons for forfeiture and final weapon dispositions (12p., 490K, PDF) | report summary
  • Maps


    The 1996 and 1997 Minnesota firearm forfeiture data files can be downloaded by linking from one of the two options at the bottom of this document. Please review this documentation before downloading or put a bookmark at this page for future reference.  

    Firearm forfeiture data is collected each year from law enforcement agencies across the state by the Minnesota State Auditorís Office. Agencies complete monthly reporting forms, recording details about each firearm forfeited. Specific information documented includes county of forfeiture, firearm characteristics, reason for forfeiture and final disposition. The Criminal Justice Center at Minnesota Planning was mandated by the 1994 Legislature to conduct a yearly analysis of the auditorís forfeiture data and publish a report detailing the results.   

    Minnesota firearm forfeiture databases are available in either a dBase IV (.dbf) or Lotus 1-2-3 (.wk1) format. Records have been sorted by data entry number in descending order. All data is numeric and pertains only to firearms that have been forfeited. Guns that are seized and subsequently returned to their owners are not considered forfeited and therefore are not included in the data file.  

    Terms

    Below are definitions specific to firearm forfeiture data files.  

    • action The mechanism by which a round of ammunition is loaded into the firing chamber of a gun. Actions may be manual such as bolt, lever, pump or revolver; semiautomatic; or automatic.
    • automatic Weapons that continuously fire ammunition as long as the trigger is depressed. Also known as a machine gun, an automatic is illegal to own unless it was manufactured before 1986.
    • BB gun A device that fires a metal pellet measuring 0.18 inch or less in diameter.
    • caliber or gauge The numeric description of the diameter of a firearm barrel as well as the size of ammunition. Caliber most often refers to handguns and rifles, while gauge pertains to shotguns. Higher calibers and lower gauges indicate more powerful weapons.
    • firearm Any device that is designed to or may be readily converted to expel any type of projectile. Types of firearms are handguns, rifles, shotguns, machine guns, homemade guns, and air, BB or pellet guns.
    • forfeiture The process in which law enforcement officials gain legal rights to a firearm. Minnesota has three legal processes for forfeiting guns: judicial action, summary and administrative.
    • handgun A firearm that can be held and fired with one hand. Revolvers, pistols and Saturday night specials are types of handguns.
    • illegal possession The unlawful possession of a firearm by a minor or of a gun that is unlicensed, altered or illegal.
    • reckless discharge The firing of a gun in a dangerous manner, such as within city limits.
    • retained Describes forfeited firearms that are kept for law enforcement purposes, such as training or use in the line of duty.
    • rifle A gun with a barrel length of 16 inches that is usually fired from the shoulder. Rifles have grooves cut into the inside of the barrel that cause the bullet to spin when discharged, increasing firing accuracy.
    • sawed-off Describes rifles with a barrel length altered to shorter than 16 inches or shotguns altered to less than 18 inches.
    • semiautomatic Describes firearms that will fire one shot of ammunition per trigger pull.
    • shotgun A firearm with a barrel length of 18 inches that is discharged with both hands from the shoulder. Shotguns have a smooth barrel and fire cartridges containing multiple metal pellets or slugs. 

    Caveats

    Comprehensive information is lacking on firearms involved in crime such as prevalent makes, calibers, gauges and actions, as well as the offenders who use them. To lessen the information gap and facilitate informed policy decisions, the 1994 Minnesota Legislature issued a mandate to three state agencies to collect and report annual firearm-related data. The agencies and the data required are: 

    • Minnesota Sentencing Guidelines Commission: criminal complaints and prosecutions involving a firearm regarding whether the case was charged or dismissed; whether the defendant was convicted of the offense or a lesser offense; and whether the mandatory minimum sentence was imposed and executed or waived by the prosecutor or court. 
    • Minnesota State Auditorís Office: firearm forfeiture information from law enforcement agencies, including the make, model and serial number of the firearm. 
    • Criminal Justice Center at Minnesota Planning: the number of people arrested, charged, convicted and sentenced for violations of each firearm-related law, as well as the make, model and serial number of each gun involved and a breakdown by county of crimes committed. 

    The Minnesota Sentencing Guidelines Commission and the Minnesota State Auditorís Office are publishing annual reports that satisfy their mandates. The complexity of the Legislatureís request and lack of relevant data prevents the Criminal Justice Center tracking offenders and the weapons they use in crime.   

    A centralized database linking weapon and offender data does not exist. Pieces of information related to each criminal incident are recorded in different data sets and stored in various locations across the state. Information on weapons used to commit crime is documented on paper by law enforcement officers at the time of arrest and kept in police files. Separate demographic information about the offender is noted as well. It is currently not possible to link information about the same incident from one data set to another. 

    This potpourri of data collection and storage prevents the tracking of firearms and offenders through the entire justice system, from the time of arrest through court activity to sentencing. In addition, any information about weapons used in crime will always exclude those situations in which police know that an incident was gun-related but are unable to recover the weapon used by the offender. Minnesota has approximately 100 statutes relating to firearm use and regulating everything from purchase and sales, possession, storage and transportation, hunting and sport use to imposing criminal penalties. Related statutory data is either not collected or readily available, or is limited in scope. 

    With the objective of supplying the best possible data available, the Criminal Justice Center worked with legislators to determine what information should be provided annually, including data on firearms used to commit crime. The state auditor was asked to collect state and county forfeiture data for each firearm: the make, model and serial number; reason for forfeiture; and final disposition. While auditorís data file does not contain information regarding offenders or state laws affecting firearm use and possession, it is the most complete and readily available data on firearms used in crime. 

     

    It was agreed that the Criminal Justice Center would complete an independent analysis of the state auditorís data to extract more in-depth statistical information. Using the data file, the Criminal Justice Center adds detail on the type, caliber, action, make, model, and legal and altered status of each forfeited weapon. 

    Police departments are able legally to secure firearms through seizure or forfeiture. Law enforcement agencies must follow a statutorily designated process to obtain forfeited guns in Minnesota. 

    Minnesota warrants three legal processes under which firearms are forfeited: 

    • Judicial action. This occurs when a formal complaint is filed against a firearm that details the reasons it should be forfeited. 
    • Summary forfeiture. This gives the state legal possession of firearms owned by an individual convicted of a controlled substance crime or other statutorily designated offense. 
    • Administrative forfeiture. This is used with guns seized in connection with controlled substances. In this process, firearm owners are notified that their weapon was seized and that they have a right to a judicial review. If a review is not requested, any rights to the firearm are lost and the weapon is automatically forfeited. 

    Seizure is the first step in the process and occurs when a police officer takes possession of a firearm ó an action that may require a court order. In some cases, the court process may be bypassed if the weapon was obtained through a lawful search or arrest. When a firearm is recovered after being abandoned or stolen, the discovering law enforcement agency makes every attempt to find the legal owner. Seizure does not always result in forfeiture; guns that are seized and later returned to owners are not considered forfeited. 

    Forfeiture differs from seizure in that the owner loses all rights to the gun in the former process. The weapon is contraband and becomes the legal property of the state. Law enforcement officials can then either destroy or retain the firearm. A few days to several years may elapse between when a seizure takes place and when it results in forfeiture. This time lapse may occur when firearms are used as evidence in a lengthy court trial or if law enforcement agencies allow time to find the lawful owners of stolen guns. The varying time line affects the data available for analysis for any given year. For example, law enforcement agencies reported 1,272 forfeitures in 18 Minnesota counties during 1997, down from 1,810 forfeitures the previous year. This may be a reflection on the forfeiture process or simply may mean that there were fewer forfeited guns or that fewer guns were recovered by law enforcement. 

    File design and coding

    The field name, size, description, values and value labels for each variable in the firearm forfeiture database are listed below. 

    Field name: Id#   Size: 4 
    Description: Unique identification number given to each forfeited firearm. 

    Value Value label
    1
    2
    3
    4
    No label
    No label
    No label
    No label

    Field name: Sevencty   Size: 1 
    Description: Indicates whether the forfeiture occurred within the metropolitan area that includes Anoka, Carver, Dakota, Hennepin, Ramsey, Scott and Washington counties.

    Value Value label
    1
    2
    Yes
    No

    Field name: HR   Size: 1 
    Description: Identifies firearms forfeited in Hennepin and Ramsey counties. 

    Value Value label
    1
    2
    Yes
    No

    Field name: County   Size: 2 
    Description: Refers to the specific county where the firearm was forfeited. 

    Value Value label   Value Value label










    10 
    11 
    12 
    13 
    14 
    15 
    16 
    17 
    18 
    19 
    20 
    21 
    22 
    23 
    24 
    25 
    26 
    27 
    28 
    29 
    30 
    31 
    32 
    33 
    34 
    35 
    36 
    37 
    38 
    39 
    40 
    41 
    42 
    43 
    Noncounty agency 
    Aitkin 
    Anoka 
    Becker 
    Beltrami 
    Benton 
    Big Stone 
    Blue Earth 
    Brown 
    Carlton 
    Carver 
    Cass 
    Chippewa 
    Chisago 
    Clay 
    Clearwater 
    Cook 
    Cottonwood 
    Crow Wing 
    Dakota 
    Dodge 
    Douglas 
    Faribault 
    Fillmore 
    Freeborn 
    Goodhue 
    Grant 
    Hennepin 
    Houston 
    Hubbard 
    Isanti 
    Itasca 
    Jackson 
    Kanabec 
    Kandiyohi 
    Kittson 
    Koochiching 
    Lac Qui Parle 
    Lake 
    Lake of the Woods 
    Le Sueur 
    Lincoln
    Lyon 
    McLeod 
      44 
    45 
    46 
    47 
    48 
    49 
    50 
    51 
    52 
    53 
    54 
    55 
    56 
    57 
    58 
    59 
    60 
    61 
    62 
    63 
    64 
    65 
    66 
    67 
    68 
    69 
    70 
    71 
    72 
    73 
    74 
    75 
    76 
    77 
    78 
    79 
    80 
    81 
    82 
    83 
    84 
    85 
    86 
    87 
    Mahnomen 
    Marshall 
    Martin 
    Meeker 
    Mille Lacs 
    Morrison 
    Mower 
    Murray 
    Nicollet 
    Nobles 
    Norman 
    Olmsted 
    Ottertail 
    Pennington 
    Pine 
    Pipestone 
    Polk 
    Pope 
    Ramsey 
    Red Lake 
    Redwood 
    Renville 
    Rice 
    Rock 
    Roseau 
    Saint Louis 
    Scott 
    Sherburne 
    Sibley 
    Stearns 
    Steele 
    Stevens 
    Swift 
    Todd 
    Traverse 
    Wabasha 
    Wadena 
    Waseca 
    Washington 
    Watonwan 
    Wilkin 
    Winona 
    Wright 
    Yellow Medicine

    Field name: Activity   Size: 1 
    Description: Identifies the activity leading to forfeiture. 

    Value Value label
    1






    Criminal 
    Reckless discharge 
    Illegal possession 
    Abandoned or found 
    Suicide 
    Search warrant 
    Other 
    Unknown 

    Field name: Breakdwn   Size: 2 
    Description: Provides a more detailed description of firearms forfeited based on criminal activity. 

    Values Value labels









    10 
    11 
    12 
    13 
    14 
    15 
    16 
    99
    Drug-related 
    Burglary 
    Theft 
    Automobile theft 
    Robbery 
    Assault 
    Domestic assault 
    Homicide 
    Other criminal activity 
    Reckless discharge 
    Illegal possession 
    Abandoned or found 
    Suicide 
    Search warrant 
    Gun turn-in program 
    Other 
    Unknown 

    Field name: Antique  Size: 1 
    Description: Identifies antique firearms that were forfeited. 

    Value Value label


    9
    Yes 
    No 
    Unknown

    Field name: Make  Size: 2 
    Description: Identifies the firearm manufacturer. 

    Value Value label   Value Value label









    10 
    11 
    12 
    13 
    14 
    15 
    16 
    17 
    18 
    19 
    20 
    21 
    22 
    23 
    24 
    25 
    26 
    27 
    28 
    29 
    30 
    31 
    32 
    33 
    34 
    35 
    36 
    37 
    38 
    39 
    40 
    41 
    42 
    43 
    44 
    45 
    46 
    47 
    48 
    49 
    50 
    51 
    52 
    53 
    54 
    55 
    56 
    57 
    58 
    59 
    60 
    61 
    62 
    63 
    64 
    65 
    66 
    67 
    68 
    69 
    70 
    71 
    72 
    73 
    74 
    75 
    76 
    77 
    78 
    79 
    80 
    81 
    82 
    83 
    84 
    85 
    Armi 
    Berreta 
    Browning 
    Bryco 
    Charter Arms 
    Colt 
    Davis 
    F.I.E. 
    Glenfield 
    Glock 
    Harrington & Richards 
    High Standards 
    Iver Johnson 
    Jennings 
    Llama 
    Lorcin 
    Marlin 
    Mossberg 
    Raven 
    Remington 
    Rossi 
    Ruger 
    Smith & Wesson 
    Stevens 
    Taurus 
    Westernfield 
    Winchester 
    Other 
    Homemade weapon 
    R.G. Industries 
    Walther 
    Wards 
    Phoenix Arms 
    Rohm 
    Clerke 
    North American Arms 
    Euroarms 
    Hopkins & Allen 
    Lancia-Razzi 
    Cobray 
    Ithaca 
    Foremost 
    Norinco 
    Astra 
    Bersa 
    CBC 
    Sentinel 
    Carbine 
    Spencer 
    Savage 
    Springfield 
    Intratec 
    Tanfaglio 
    Sturm 
    AccuTec 
    Sig Sauer 
    A.A. Arms 
    Fabrique 
    Sporting Arms 
    Belgium 
    Hamilton 
    Meriden 
    Ruku Armscor 
    OMC 
    Sears 
    Daisy 
    Detonics 
    KB Industries Ltd. 
    New Haven 
    Hiawatha 
    JC Higgins 
    Spesco 
    CGA 
    New England 
    Dan Wesson 
    Haskel 
    Titan 
    Star 
    Herters 
    Exel 
    SKS 
    Thompson 
    Gardon 
    HM Quakenbush 
    Shinn A Sipja 
      86 
    87 
    88 
    89 
    90 
    91 
    92 
    93 
    94 
    95 
    96 
    97 
    98 
    99 
    100 
    101 
    102 
    103 
    104 
    105 
    106 
    107 
    108 
    109 
    110 
    111 
    112 
    113 
    114 
    115 
    116 
    117 
    118 
    119 
    120 
    121 
    122 
    123 
    124 
    125 
    126 
    127 
    128 
    129 
    130 
    131 
    132 
    133 
    134 
    135 
    136 
    137 
    138 
    139 
    140 
    141 
    142 
    143 
    144 
    145 
    146 
    147 
    148 
    149 
    150 
    151 
    152 
    153 
    154 
    155 
    156 
    157 
    158 
    159 
    160 
    161 
    162 
    163 
    164 
    165 
    166 
    167 
    168 
    169 
    170
    Champion 
    Ranger 
    Eastern Arms 
    Premier 
    Baikal 
    Erma Werke 
    Forehand 
    Coonan Arms 
    AMT 
    Deutsche Werke 
    US Revolver 
    Liberty 
    Bauer 
    Unknown make 
    Galesi 
    Heckler & Koch 
    Calico 
    Freedom Arms 
    Navy Arms 
    EIG 
    Hege Waffen 
    Essex Arms 
    Hawes 
    Thalco 
    Stallard 
    Omega 
    FEG 
    SWD 
    Unique 
    CH 
    Eibar 
    Sterling 
    Chinese Military 
    Hi Point 
    Federal Arms 
    Iberia 
    BFI 
    Grendel 
    Inter Arms 
    AKM 
    MAZ 
    Bernardelli 
    Italy 
    Brevello 
    Kessler 
    Spanish Military 
    PIC 
    Plainfield Machine Co. 
    Russian Military 
    Ted Williams 
    Makarou 
    Sundance 
    Standard Arms 
    Combat Commander 
    Valor 
    FB Random 
    GP Trading 
    Benelli 
    Government 
    Hungarian Military 
    Pardner 
    FMJ 
    Mil Inc. 
    Heritage 
    Maverick 
    Kassnar 
    Weatherby 
    Diamond Arms 
    Revelation 
    Warner Arms 
    Mauser 
    Gersten Berger 
    Lee Arms 
    Hungarian Arms Works 
    Enfield 
    INA 
    Sedco Industries 
    Rosco 
    Kimel 
    Alamo 
    Helwan 
    Imperial 
    EAA Corporation 
    Imez 
    Brazil 

    Field name:  Caliber  Size: 2 
    Description: Indicates the forfeited firearm`s caliber or gauge. 

    Value Value label Value Value label


    3






    10 
    11 
    12 
    13 
    14 
    15 
    16 
    17 
    18 
    19 
    20 
    21 
    22 
    23 
    .21 
    .177 
    .22 
    .22-250 
    .25 
    .30 
    .303 
    .32 
    .35 
    .38 
    .44 
    .45
    .50 
    .223 
    .243 
    .270 
    .308 
    .31 
    .36 
    10 gauge 
    12 gauge 
    16 gauge 
    20 gauge
    24 
    25 
    26 
    27 
    30 
    31 
    32 
    33 
    34 
    35 
    40 
    41 
    42 
    43 
    50 
    51 
    52 
    53 
    54 
    55 
    56 
    57 
    99
    32 gauge 
    280 
    .40 
    .41 
    30-30 
    30-06 
    32-20 
    .222 
    7.7 millimeter 
    .284 
    .357 
    380 
    .410 
    5.56 
    6.35 millimeter 
    7.62 millimeter 
    7 millimeter 
    9 millimeter 
    7.65 millimeter 
    17.9 millimeter 
    8 millimeter 
    10 millimeter 
    Unknown

    Field name: Type   Size: 1 
    Description: Describes the type of firearm forfeited. 

    Value Value label






    9
    Handgun 
    Rifle 
    Shotgun 
    Air, BB or pellet 
    Replica of a firearm 
    Other 
    Unknown

    Field name: Action  Size: 2 
    Description: Pertains to the firearm`s ammunition loading mechanism. 

    Value Value label









    10
    Single shot 
    Double barrel 
    Revolver 
    Bolt action 
    Lever 
    Pump 
    Semiautomatic 
    Automatic 
    Other 
    Unknown 

    Field name:  Legal  Size: 2 
    Description: Identifies the firearmís legal status. Examples of illegal firearms are Saturday night specials, machine guns and altered guns. 

    Value Value label


    99
    Yes 
    No 
    Unknown

    Field name:  Altered  Size: 2 
    Description: Indicates whether the forfeited firearm was altered. Examples of unlawful alterations are adding silencers or trigger activators, sawing off the barrel, and removing or altering the serial number. 

    Value Value label


    99
    County unknown 
    Metro
    Unknown

    Field name: Serial  Size: 2 
    Description: Provides information about the firearmís serial number. 

    Value Value label



    99
    Present
    None
    Altered or removed 
    Unknown

    Field name: Status  Size: 1 
    Description: Describes what happened to the firearm after forfeiture. 

    Value Value label


    3
    Destroyed 
    Retained 
    Other

    Technical problems? Contact: demography.helpline@state.mn.us