of Appellate Courts
Swanson, Attorney General, Saint Paul, Minnesota; and Steven
M. Tallen, Tallen & Baertschi, Minneapolis, Minnesota,
J. Strouts, Scott J. Strouts, LLC, Minneapolis, Minnesota;
and Larry Rapoport, Larry Rapoport, Ltd., Minnetonka,
Minnesota, for respondent.
Francis J. Rondoni, Jeffrey D. Bores, Gary K. Luloff,
Jennifer J. Crancer, Chestnut Cambronne PA, Minneapolis,
Minnesota, for amicus curiae Suburban Hennepin County
person under the influence of alcohol who is driving a
vehicle with a pistol within arm's reach is carrying a
pistol "about the person's clothing or person"
within the meaning of Minn. Stat. § 624.7142 (2016).
Whether a person under the influence of alcohol who is
driving a vehicle is carrying a pistol "about the
person's clothing or person" is a question of fact.
Christopher Michael Prigge was stopped and arrested on
suspicion of driving while under the influence of alcohol.
During an inventory search of Prigge's vehicle, police
discovered a loaded handgun in the center console. Prigge was
charged with "carrying a pistol on or about [his]
clothes or person" while under the influence of alcohol
in violation of Minn. Stat. § 624.7142, subd. 1(4)
(2016). On Prigge's motion, the district court dismissed
the charge for lack of probable cause. The court of appeals
affirmed. We granted review to decide whether a person is
"carry[ing] a pistol on or about the person's
clothes or person" when that person is driving a vehicle
with a handgun in the center console. We reverse the decision
of the court of appeals and remand to the district court for
proceedings consistent with this opinion.
April 27, 2016, respondent Christopher Michael Prigge was
pulled over by a Maple Grove police officer who saw
Prigge's vehicle weaving within its traffic lane. After
stopping Prigge's vehicle, the officer observed that
Prigge smelled "strongly" of alcohol and had
"glassy and watery" eyes. Prigge admitted that he
had consumed alcohol that evening, and he failed field
sobriety tests. He was then arrested for driving under the
influence of alcohol. During an inventory search of his
vehicle, which was impounded, police discovered a loaded
handgun in the vehicle's center console. After being read
the Implied Consent Advisory, Prigge consented to a breath
test that revealed an alcohol concentration of .10.
was charged with five counts, including one count of carrying
a pistol while under the influence of alcohol ("Count
III"). See Minn. Stat. § 624.7142, subd.
1(4). Prigge moved to dismiss Count III, arguing that the
pistol in the center console of the vehicle was not being
carried "on or about [his] clothes or person in a public
place." Id. The district court granted
Prigge's motion and dismissed Count III, concluding that
" 'carrying on or about the person's clothes or
person' does not extend to a pistol within the closed
center console[-if never removed, and absent any evidence
that it was ever handled or personally carried by the
[d]efendant while he [was] under the influence of
State appealed, and the court of appeals affirmed. State
v. Prigge, 900 N.W.2d 890, 895 (Minn.App. 2017). The
court concluded that the statute was unambiguous, and that
"[t]he phrase to 'carry a pistol on or about the
person's clothes or person' . . . requires a physical
nexus between the person or the person's clothes and a
pistol." Id. Because the nexus requirement was