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Old March 27, 2012, 02:40 PM   #1
BGutzman
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Are Poly Pistols Illegal Under Minnesota Law

In the past few days I have read material on this forum that I hadnt heard concerning Minnesota having laws that somehow (supposedly, I do not know factually) are more generous concerning the display of a gun in public...

I have yet to find the answer but Im looking for it... But while looking for it I ran into this.

Quote:
It is a gross misdemeanor for a federally licensed firearms
dealer to sell or for any person to manufacture or assemble,
in whole or in part, a “Saturday night special” pistol. A
“Saturday night special”pistol means any pistol (other than
an antique firearm, air gun, or toy gun) that is made of any of
the following materials:
any material having a melting point of less than 1,000
degrees Fahrenheit;
any material having an ultimate tensile strength of less
than 55,000 pounds per square inch; or
any powdered metal having a density of less than 7.5
grams per cubic centimeter.

per Minn. Stat. §§ 624.712; 624.716

As I read this it seems like anything made out of poly (Glock, H&K & Springfield) ect may well be illegal in the state of Minnesota even though these are weapons commonly sold in Minnesota...

Am I reading this right or am I wrong? Does this bring my new Sig p290 into question since it does have a poly frame? What are your thoughts?

Poly certainly must melt before it gets to 1000 degrees.. It seems like all the polys must be Saturday Night Specials under Minnesota law.
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Last edited by BGutzman; March 27, 2012 at 04:33 PM. Reason: added more
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Old March 27, 2012, 08:13 PM   #2
ScottRiqui
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I'm not sure that a poly frame would necessarily melt at 1000 °F, even if it took a lower temperature than that to initially cast the past. I think that the polymer used in firearms undergoes a chemical curing process during the initial casting. In other words, I don't think that you could take a Glock frame, grind it into powder, and re-cast it into a frame again.

It's kind of like the old lacquer automotive paint versus the new polyurethane paint. Back in the old days, you could theoretically spray lacquer paint onto a panel, sand it off the panel, mixi the sanded-off paint dust with lacquer thinner and re-spray it again. With modern poly paints, once they've cured, the material is fundamentally different than it was before it was initially sprayed.

Regardless, I suspect that the law was written before the widespread adoption of polymers in handgun frames, and was aimed instead at "pot metal" castings. I've never heard of the law or one like it being used to criminalize polymer-framed handguns.
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Old March 27, 2012, 09:29 PM   #3
Tom Servo
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Quote:
A “Saturday night special”pistol means any pistol (other than
an antique firearm, air gun, or toy gun) that is made of any of the following materials:
any material having a melting point of less than 1,000
degrees Fahrenheit;
any material having an ultimate tensile strength of less
than 55,000 pounds per square inch; or
any powdered metal having a density of less than 7.5
grams per cubic centimeter.
Odd. Illinois and South Carolina have similar laws, but they stipulate that the melting point test applies to "metal alloy," such as the cheap zinc alloys used in cheap pistols.

Unless there's an exception somewhere else in the law, you're reading it correctly. I've met folks from Minnesota who own Glocks, and I believe the state patrol carries them, so the law is not being enforced.

The problem is, it can be enforced on somebody's whim, and without notice, at any time.
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Old March 27, 2012, 09:58 PM   #4
zxcvbob
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What's the barrel and the receiver and/or frame made of? Probably not plastic or zinc.

I went to Cabela's last year to buy a Heritage Rough Rider .22 revolver (single action) that they had on sale. They told me it wasn't for sale in MN because of this silly law, and they just forgot to put the disclaimer in the ad. They have a case full of Tupper-guns; I bought a little plastic Kel-tec there a couple years ago.
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Old March 28, 2012, 11:10 AM   #5
BGutzman
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I can see the law isnt being enforced as half the police in the Minneapolic area seem to carry poly weapons... It is concerning as stated above because it could be enforced at anytime...

One more bad law...
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Old March 28, 2012, 11:28 AM   #6
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Does anyone know when that code section was enacted? I'd bet it dates back to the early '70's, before the advent of polymer-framed pistols.

Most likely, it's an archaic throwback that the courts and legislature are unaware of. It might be worth a call to local legislators to see about having it removed.
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Old March 28, 2012, 11:30 AM   #7
zxcvbob
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Even if you are reading it correctly, it doesn't say anything about possession. You're worrying too much.
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Old March 28, 2012, 12:45 PM   #8
hermannr
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Only applies to an FFL. If you think about it...this is a Jim Crow law under it's cover of being a safety law.
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Old March 28, 2012, 12:59 PM   #9
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A Glock contains both metal and poly parts. You could just as easily argue that a Glock is "made of" metal as you could argue that it is "made of" polymers.

Seems like a dated and poorly worded law to me. The case history is probably more important than the wording of the law.
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Old March 28, 2012, 01:48 PM   #10
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Quote:
Does anyone know when that code section was enacted? I'd bet it dates back to the early '70's, before the advent of polymer-framed pistols... Most likely, it's an archaic throwback...
+1, and IMHO it's badly written and likely unenforceable as applied to most modern handguns, because it doesn't specify which parts of the pistol may not have a "an ultimate tensile strength of less than 55,000 pounds per square inch". All is says is that "the pistol" must have the specified strength.

FWIW 55,000 psi is a common engineering "rule of thumb" for the tensile strength of ordinary mild steel. Even if we disregard polymers, very few commonplace aluminum alloys have this level of tensile strength. Wood or rubber fall far short.

How many modern pistols can you think of that contain no aluminum, plastic, wood, or rubber anywhere in the gun? (I'm including the grips, just for argument's sake.)

<crickets>

OK, let's take the law at literal face value. We'll clamp the entire gun into a tensile strength testing machine. Who thinks that any modern pistol will withstand tens of thousands of pounds of force before something breaks?

<snickers>

My hunch is that the law was written by a legislator with no engineering (or shooting) background. He/she tells a legislative aid that the goal is to ban handguns that are weaker than steel. Said aid calls his/her college buddy who took a basic engineering materials class and kept the textbook. Said buddy looks up the properties of steel and zinc alloy in the index, and whammo, it's written into law.

The MI state AG probably realizes that a legal case against a high-profile gunmaker with a smart, experienced, and well-funded legal team would collapse very quickly once they exposed the overly broad nature of this law.
Quote:
It might be worth a call to local legislators to see about having it removed.
Quote:
The case history is probably more important than the wording of the law.
Agreed on both counts.
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Old March 28, 2012, 04:17 PM   #11
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I will contact my legislature..
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