Gov. Doug Burgum signed a bill into law loosening restrictions on the state’s conceal and carry laws. House Bill 1169 would allow lawful gun owners to conceal and carry a firearm without a permit.
By COLE BENZ | Editor
Gov. Doug Burgum signed a bill into law loosening restrictions on the state’s conceal and carry laws. House Bill 1169 would allow lawful gun owners to conceal and carry a firearm without a permit. The bill, dubbed the ‘constitutional carry’ bill, would allow individuals who aren’t otherwise prohibited from having a Class 2 conceal weapons permit, and have carried a valid North Dakota driver’s license or state issued identification card for one year, to be allowed to conceal and carry a firearm, with no permit.
Proponents of the bill, which was sponsored by Rep. Rick Becker (R), said that the steps required to get the permit were minimal anyway. Detractors said even the minimal steps offered lessons on firearm education.
Either way, as of Aug. 1, 2017, the bill goes into effect and lawful weapon owners will be allowed to carry it, and conceal it, without a permit.
Hettinger County Sheriff Sarah Warner said she fully supports the Second Amendment and citizen’s right to bear arms, but is concerned about the lack of background checking.
“It’s good that people have the right to carry arms, I’m all for that, you know the second amendment,” Warner said. “What’s concerning to me, not so much that they have to take a test or anything with the class 1 or class 2, but the background [check], you know I think that would have been important, to have a background check.”
The new law is undoubtably going to bring up new questions, Warner said, like during traffic stops.
Under the new law, those carrying a weapon will be required to disclose it during interactions with law enforcement. Prior to this law it was not required, and law enforcement would be able to tell if that individual carried a permit, as it would be notated on their driver’s license when the officer ran it on their computer system. Warner wasn’t sure if this new rule in the law would warrant a citation if the individual failed to disclose the possession of a firearm.
“I’m not sure, it’s still so new to us,” she said. “Hopefully we’re going to have some training before it goes into effect in August.”
Warner also worries about people traveling into the state, thinking they’re covered by the new constitutional carry law. This law is strictly for residents that have held a North Dakota Department of Transportation issued license or ID for one year, it doesn’t apply to those traveling from out of state to North Dakota.
“You have to have lived here for a year and have a valid North Dakota license or id card,” she said.
Reciprocity requires a permit, and for that, an interested party needs to complete a three-hour course and an open book test.
“If you want reciprocity, you’re still going to have to have a concealed weapons permit to carry there,” she said. “So you’re still going to have to take the test and all that if you want to carry into another state we have reciprocity with.”
A few things are still confusing for Warner. For instance, the law states that anyone 18 years or older can carry without a permit, if they are not otherwise prohibited from carrying. But in order to purchase a hand gun, you need to be at least 21 years of age.
“It’s kind of confusing there,” she said.
One thing that’s bound to change is the database of permits. The county receives, from the North Dakota Bureau of Criminal Investigation, a list of permits issued in the county. Though the list is long and may not be used exclusively, it will change some with the necessity of a permit no longer in existence.
As people look towards the Aug. 1 date, Warner said carriers should take the time to get some training for their own personal sake. She doesn’t want people to carry just because they can, and then something tragic happens. If they are going to carry, the carrier also has to have the mindset that if they are faced with a potential danger to themselves, are they willing to use it and ready to face consequences?
Warner said questions on the new regulations could better be answered by her and her office closer to the Aug. 1 effective date, when they should have more information.