What you are looking for is an "Appleseed" program. Its part of the Civilian marksmanship program, and basically a beginners level rifle safety and marksmanship program. You will learn small bore, rifles, basically the exact ones you would want to use to shoot gophers. Not sure about where in MN you are, but I would look for indoor programs, going to be cold soon. Here is a link to get you started. I would just show up at an event. Bring clear safty glasses and ear muffs, then go watch, tell people you are new and want to learn small bore. You;ll find someone to get you started without the , commando super trooper dufuses you are likely to find at a gun store.
Alot of this is hittign home for me, its frustrrating, at one time I ran a womens defensive hand gun classes. Was very frustrating havign to unteach stuff idiots tell them. Not to mention they almost ALWAYS get stuck with totally unsuitable guns. Granted this is handgun self defense, In your case go with the .22 rifle first. But find one that fits and is suitable for your gopher issue and easy to learn on.
You can look long and hard but a Ruger 10-22 would be by far the best platform to start with. Make sure it fits you. But Id go to the applesead event first and watch and learn a bit.
SMS CMP Calendar - Indoor Smallbore Rifle
Welcome aboard, learn 22 rifle markssmanship first then move into other things.