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Discussion Starter #1
Hey guys,

I am essentially going to give a Tl;Dr; and if anyone has any questions or would like me to expand on anything please let me know!

1) Can you define what exactly the term "Force of Law" means?
2) Is Minnesota a "Force of Law" state?
 

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In most contexts around guns, Force of Law ("FOL") means that a Restriction on guns (e.g. no concealed or open carry, or either) carries a legal ramification and generally a penalty.

This is a great site: Handgunlaw

Minnesota is NOT a FOL State:

State of Minnesota in Court of Appeals A07-131 (Click Link for Full Ruling. Pg. 9 & 14)

Edina Community Lutheran Church, Respondent, Unity Church of St. Paul, Respondent, vs. State of Minnesota, Appellant.


Even after making a reasonable request that guns not be brought onto the premises, and even if that request complies precisely with the terms of the statute, the owner or operator of a private establishment must also order a person who refuses to comply to leave the premises, before that person can be prosecuted for petty misdemeanor trespass. Minn. Stat. § 624.714, subd. 17(a). In addition, the gun possessed by the trespasser is not subject to forfeiture. Id.; cf. Minn. Stat. § 609.531, subds. 1(b), 4 (2006) (weapons subject to forfeiture).
Minnesota

With the Court of Appeals Ruling above “No Firearm” signs in Minnesota have no force of law unless they are posted on property that is specifically mentioned in State Law as being off limits to those with a Permit/License to Carry. If you are in a place not specifically mentioned in the law that is posted and they ask you to leave, you must leave. If you refuse to leave then you are breaking the law and can be charged with a petty misdemeanor (which in MN is not considered to be a criminal offense). Even if the property is not posted and you are asked to leave you must leave. Always be aware of the possibility that responding Police Officers who may have been called without your knowledge and may not know the laws on trespass etc. could arrest you even if you are within the law.
I would suggest you become very familiar with Handgunlaw in Minnesota and any other state you visit.

It is a great resource!
 

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Force of Law essentially means that if you walk past a No Gun Sign and are caught, then you can be arrested and charged with a crime. What that crime is, can vary from State to State. For instance, here in Mississippi we have two levels of licensed concealed carry, basic and enhanced. With the Basic concealed carry, you can be charged with a gun charge. With the enhanced carry, they won't charge for the gun, but you can still be charged with criminal trespass in certain cases, such as privately owned businesses that are posted.

As far as your State is concerned, Handgunlaw.us is a great source for getting not only yours, but also other State's concealed carry laws.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
That makes sense. Does "Force of Law" carry any context that would require it to have a specific penalty before the term applies?

Minnesota Law states:

Subd. 17.Posting; trespass. (a) A person carrying a firearm on or about his or her person or clothes under a permit or otherwise who remains at a private establishment knowing that the operator of the establishment or its agent has made a reasonable request that firearms not be brought into the establishment may be ordered to leave the premises. A person who fails to leave when so requested is guilty of a petty misdemeanor. The fine for a first offense must not exceed $25. Notwithstanding section 609.531, a firearm carried in violation of this subdivision is not subject to forfeiture.

My understanding of the term is that if an action you would take carries with it legal consequence that can be enforced then that action bares the "Force of Law".

If I enter a private establishment and a sign on the door bans the carry of a firearm and I enter and meet the criteria for trespassing by MN state law. Would it be fair to assume that by the definition of "Force of Law" that Minnesota is a "Force of Law" state as it applies to private business owners who disallow carrying in their establishments?
 

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AFAIK "The Force of Law" indicates rules and regulations that are set in place by governmental agencies that have been given power of enforcement. All states use this principle
 

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I would suggest that recent developments and actual occurrences indicate that even without force of law you can be detained and arrested for trespassing by a well-meaning LEO. It makes sense not to go into such establishments. It's not clear why you're asking.

If you are really concerned about safety going to and from the car (where the danger is in all likelihood) then you could ask a restaurant employee to walk you to your car - in fact you should be able to demand it if you're patient. After all it is THEY who are the reason for your being unsafe. Heck you could ask them anyway, armed or not especially at night or in high risk areas.

Stay safe, my fren.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
So is "Force of Law" actually technically a legal term or is it just loosely used in the CCW world? Because even here the two responses are quite similar but also very different.

In most contexts around guns, Force of Law ("FOL") means that a Restriction on guns (e.g. no concealed or open carry, or either) carries a legal ramification and generally a penalty.
This states that its anything that carries with it some ramification. And by this definition trespassing does count. Even if zero charges are ever filed the fact would remain that they could and by definition Minnesota would be a "Force of Law" state.

Force of Law essentially means that if you walk past a No Gun Sign and are caught, then you can be arrested and charged with a crime. What that crime is, can vary from State to State. For instance, here in Mississippi we have two levels of licensed concealed carry, basic and enhanced. With the Basic concealed carry, you can be charged with a gun charge. With the enhanced carry, they won't charge for the gun, but you can still be charged with criminal trespass in certain cases, such as privately owned businesses that are posted.
This definition suggests that force of Law would mean that you could be arrested and charged with a crime. While this does mean that Minnesota would not be a Force of Law state, if when the police arrive I assert that I have the legal right to carry a firearm and that they have to legal right to remove me from where I am and I am arrested because of this technically I have just been arrested because I was carrying a firearm. In actuality I was arrested for some other thing the entire encounter was predicated on my carrying a firearm in that establishment.

https://www.revisor.leg.state.mn.us/statutes/?id=609.605

In Minnesota, while the carry law dictates that trespassing would be changed as a petty misdemeanor with a 25$ fine if the police issue you a ticket. Trespassing is a misdemeanor and if your non compliant you certainly can be charged as such which IS a criminal level offense in this state.

This is the reason that I would like to exact a definition to the term "Force of Law" as I am having a disagreement with a friend of mine based on this term. Generally speaking people have two modes of discussion on this topic, what can happen and what does happen. For the purpose of discussing "Force of Law" the only reasonable one of those three that really matters is what can happen because even though a thousand to one odds you just walk away from that situation without so much as a ticket, one uppity police officer and you CAN get arrested period.

So the way that I was looking at it.

Force is defined as - make (someone) do something against their will.
Law is defined as - the system of rules that a particular country or community recognizes as regulating the actions of its members and may enforce by the imposition of penalties.

Because Force is NOT specifically defined, if you are compelled to comply for any reason even if that reason simply the threat of a 25$ petty misdemeanor you have been removed from that establishment under "Force of Law".

Does this definition make sense or is my thinking flawed?

I really appreciate you guy's responses I have a LOT of fun talking about things like this they keep the mind sharp and they are a GREAT refresher on the laws :-D you guys are awesome!!!
 

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note to badger J:

good question, at least for me, as i have not heard of force of law".

the talk behind your answer, yes. just not that wording.
so sometimes a odd question is good if nothing more, than talk about a subject.
somethings are easy for others as they know all the ways and wordings, and some of us out here just do not know.
 

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IMHO - Any concealed pistol-packer who's not familiar with the idea, definition & local stipulations of "Force of Law" is running a dangerous risk of inadvertently being asked to wear a stenciled...BRIGHT ORANGE JUMPSUIT! :blink:
 

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Discussion Starter #10
As a side question to this because I am really curious... does the term "Force of Law" only apply to posted buildings legally entered in a state based on the law or is it a general term that is used to describe whether you can be compelled to comply with a LEO in pretty much any situation.

BadgerJ: I TOTALLY agree :-D this is a large part of the reason that I brought this up, that and a spirited debate :). As a 6' 190 lbs man, I can run ~5 miles and retain enough stamina to combat an attacker. Sleep deprived, hungry, tired, and physically and mentally exhausted I am accurate enough with my lc9s to place consistent shots into the CBM if they are moving. I am not afraid for my safety or the safety of the people in my care. That being said I couldn't agree with you more in that, unless i misread, situation awareness is the MOST important thing. Despite myself safety is in numbers and if asking a wait person to walk with me is the more safe option that is what I would do because while "It's better to be judged by 12 than carried by 6" I defer to my situational awareness... I would rather not be judged OR carried haha. :)
 

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IMHO - Any concealed pistol-packer who's not familiar with the idea, definition & local stipulations of "Force of Law" is running a dangerous risk of inadvertently being asked to wear a stenciled...BRIGHT ORANGE JUMPSUIT! :blink:
That doesn't help define them term "Force of Law". This just assert that because I do not know the definition of the term, of which no one ( yourself included ) has shown a full legal definition of or come up with an agreeable definition for that I am ignorant of the laws in my state. I am very aware of the laws in my state and as this term that is still eluding a real definition is new to me I am seeking more knowledge on the subject. Please don't confuse my desire to learn with being ignorant on some tangential topic.

Sorry if that came across as crass but I am also having this discussion with a friend who keeps saying that because I don't know I am wrong yet they ALSO cannot actually define the term for me. So if anyone can assert that "Force of Law" is a real term that is define to mean something that is universally agreeable then I am allowed to assert than I would like more information about it. Anything that can be asserted WITHOUT proof can be dismissed WITHOUT proof. I am simply attempted to expand my knowledge base :)
 

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Great answer Rock and Glock.
 

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That doesn't help define them term "Force of Law". This just assert that because I do not know the definition of the term, of which no one ( yourself included ) has shown a full legal definition of or come up with an agreeable definition for that I am ignorant of the laws in my state. I am very aware of the laws in my state and as this term that is still eluding a real definition is new to me I am seeking more knowledge on the subject. Please don't confuse my desire to learn with being ignorant on some tangential topic.
Sorry if that came across as crass but I am also having this discussion with a friend who keeps saying that because I don't know I am wrong yet they ALSO cannot actually define the term for me. So if anyone can assert that "Force of Law" is a real term that is define to mean something that is universally agreeable then I am allowed to assert than I would like more information about it. Anything that can be asserted WITHOUT proof can be dismissed WITHOUT proof. I am simply attempted to expand my knowledge base :)
Hey Legion, sorry you're not getting precisely what you want. Go hire a lawyer & pay the coin. As for "tangential topics", did you start the thread so you could tell all of us what an impressive physical specimen you are? I don't care if you're Randy Couture or Peewee Herman. And if you already "very aware" of the laws in your state, then go argue more-convincingly with your friend. You seem a "might prickly" about our responses. We're not physic. We can't know how much (or little) that you actually know. If you're really trying to "expand your knowledge base", then (IMHO) lecture less & listen more. ::yup:
 

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Hey guys,

I am essentially going to give a Tl;Dr; and if anyone has any questions or would like me to expand on anything please let me know!

1) Can you define what exactly the term "Force of Law" means?
2) Is Minnesota a "Force of Law" state?
"Force of Law" is a legal term of art. When something has the force of law, it means that it can be enforced by the legal system.

For example, an FAA regulation can be enforced in court. It therefore has the "force of law".

In our context, it is generally used to refer to signage prohibiting a person from carrying a firearm onto a specific piece of property.

For example, in Texas, there is a statue (30.06) that defines how a sign must be worded and placed in order to prohibit a person from carrying a concealed firearm onto the premises. Signs that comply have the Force of Law, in that they can be enforced by the police and courts. Noncompliant signage is not enforceable.

Rock and Glock has ably given you the answer to part 2 of your question.

Matt
 

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Discussion Starter #15
"Force of Law" is a legal term of art. When something has the force of law, it means that it can be enforced by the legal system.

For example, an FAA regulation can be enforced in court. It therefore has the "force of law".

In our context, it is generally used to refer to signage prohibiting a person from carrying a firearm onto a specific piece of property.

For example, in Texas, there is a statue (30.06) that defines how a sign must be worded and placed in order to prohibit a person from carrying a concealed firearm onto the premises. Signs that comply have the Force of Law, in that they can be enforced by the police and courts. Noncompliant signage is not enforceable.

Rock and Glock has ably given you the answer to part 2 of your question.

Matt
Interesting. I appreciate your definition and example. Both of those make sense to me. So if I am understanding correctly:

Subd. 17.Posting; trespass. (a) A person carrying a firearm on or about his or her person or clothes under a permit or otherwise who remains at a private establishment knowing that the operator of the establishment or its agent has made a reasonable request that firearms not be brought into the establishment may be ordered to leave the premises. A person who fails to leave when so requested is guilty of a petty misdemeanor. The fine for a first offense must not exceed $25. Notwithstanding section 609.531, a firearm carried in violation of this subdivision is not subject to forfeiture.
(b) As used in this subdivision, the terms in this paragraph have the meanings given.
(1) "Reasonable request" means a request made under the following circumstances:

(i) the requester has prominently posted a conspicuous sign at every entrance to the establishment containing the following language: "(INDICATE IDENTITY OF OPERATOR) BANS GUNS IN THESE PREMISES."; or
(ii) the requester or the requester's agent personally informs the person that guns are prohibited in the premises and demands compliance.
(2) "Prominently" means readily visible and within four feet laterally of the entrance with the bottom of the sign at a height of four to six feet above the floor.
(3) "Conspicuous" means lettering in black arial typeface at least 1-1/2 inches in height against a bright contrasting background that is at least 187 square inches in area.

(4) "Private establishment" means a building, structure, or portion thereof that is owned, leased, controlled, or operated by a nongovernmental entity for a nongovernmental purpose.
(c) The owner or operator of a private establishment may not prohibit the lawful carry or possession of firearms in a parking facility or parking area.
Minnesota state statute does go so far as to define what is considered a sign that identifies legal notice and the repercussion for not following said statute. Given this definition and how it applies to Minnesota Statue then Minnesota would be a "Force of Law" state correct? Because under force of law you can be removed from a building for carrying where prohibited because they have determined that carrying where prohibited is a trespassing offence. Is that a good understanding or did I miss something?
 

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Hey Legion, sorry you're not getting precisely what you want. Go hire a lawyer & pay the coin. As for "tangential topics", did you start the thread so you could tell all of us what an impressive physical specimen you are? I don't care if you're Randy Couture or Peewee Herman. And if you already "very aware" of the laws in your state, then go argue more-convincingly with your friend. You seem a "might prickly" about our responses. We're not physic. We can't know how much (or little) that you actually know. If you're really trying to "expand your knowledge base", then (IMHO) lecture less & listen more. ::yup:
I responded to your post and even apologized for it sounding crass the side topic of how I can handle myself or my physique was a response to your post and would otherwise not have come up. I don't assume that your psychic what so ever however the question asking for a definition to what specifically "Force of Law" means was the question and i felt that the posts that i was getting were still differing in their definition so I am simply asking for clarification. Your post specifically had literally nothing to do with any of the above discussion.

Sorry to you or anyone else who took offense this was not my intention. I am just engaging in a bit of spirited discussion. :)
 

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Interesting. I appreciate your definition and example. Both of those make sense to me. So if I am understanding correctly:



Minnesota state statute does go so far as to define what is considered a sign that identifies legal notice and the repercussion for not following said statute. Given this definition and how it applies to Minnesota Statue then Minnesota would be a "Force of Law" state correct? Because under force of law you can be removed from a building for carrying where prohibited because they have determined that carrying where prohibited is a trespassing offence. Is that a good understanding or did I miss something?
Bear in mind that the law consists of both the written law as adopted by the legislature, and also case law as decided by the courts. So the case Rock and Glock above posted above clarifies the law. I am not a lawyer, not is anything I post legal advice, but my understanding of the case law is that even with a sign, the property owner or their agent must individually ask you to leave the premises and have you not comply before a trespassing charge is valid.

Matt
 

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It seems to me you have stated the meaning of the statute well enough.
 

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This matter will never reach the Supreme Court, let alone a Circuit Court.

If the state is not Force of Law, as Minnesota, they must affirmatively request you leave before they can charge you with an offense, that is, trespassing.

If a sign has Force of Law under state statutes or cases, you are breaking the law and can be charged regardless.

Some states run more of a hybrid system.

It's actually pretty easy, unless you're a barrister.
 

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This matter will never reach the Supreme Court, let alone a Circuit Court.

If the state is not Force of Law, as Minnesota, they must affirmatively request you leave before they can charge you with an offense, that is, trespassing.

If a sign has Force of Law under state statutes or cases, you are breaking the law and can be charged regardless.

Some states run more of a hybrid system.

It's actually pretty easy, unless you're a barrister.
There we go! Thank you! That is the clarification that I think I was missing. The sign itself must be solely enforceable without the store owner or a representative asserting that you comply for it to be enforceable. Thank you Rock and Glock that makes sense. Thank you for all the great reply's everyone.

I feel that the term is kind of vague however I believe I understand its usage now. Thanks everyone!
 
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