Bismarck Tribune Editorial About Gun Law Is Factually Inaccurate

UPDATE: As it happens, Governor Dalrymple signed this bill into law today.

Last week lawmakers sent HB1241 to Governor Jack Dalrymple. The bill is something of a cleanup of current code governing guns and concealed carry permits, clarifying some issues around short barrel guns and tasers and also clarifying some of the places where concealed carry isn’t allowed.

The net impact of the bill, should Governor Jack Dalrymple sign it, is an expansion of concealed carry rights. If this bill becomes law North Dakotans will be able to carry their guns in more places, like concerts and liquor stores.

Today the Bismarck Tribune has an editorial urging Dalrymple to veto the law. I’ll not quibble with the larger opinion of the Tribune – opinions about gun rights are what they are, some people appreciate them and some don’t – but the newspaper gets one critical fact about the bill absolutely, 100 percent wrong.

“In February, the Tribune editorialized that the bill was not a good idea and a reading of the bill sent to the governor does not change our mind,” the Tribune opines, but I’m not sure they did actually read the bill sent to the governor. When I first read the editorial this morning the paper was crowing that the legislation would allow concealed carry in bars.

But that’s simply not true. Here’s the pertinent section of the amended bill sent to Dalrymple’s office for signature:

www legis.nd.gov-assembly-64-2015-documents-15-0519-06000.pdf-20150415081430

You can read the entire bill here, but that section makes it clear that concealed carry is prohibited in establishments selling alcohol and allowing consumption on premises. In other words, bars and restaurants that serve alcohol.

The Tribune has now posted a correction at the top of their editorial and sent their previous hyperbole about guns in bars down the memory hole:

Governor should reject expanded gun law

What’s frustrating is that the Tribune took an editorial position on an important piece of legislation while clearly not really understanding the legislation. We’re not talking about a difference of opinion in how the law would impact our state, but a flat-out error in understanding the bill.

I suspect that if the Tribune had taken the time to actually, you know, read the bill and understand it they wouldn’t have published this editorial. But they didn’t, and are probably now too embarrassed to back down from their editorial.

What a shame. The public deserves better.

Rob Port is the editor of SayAnythingBlog.com, a columnist for the Forum News Service, and the host of the Rob (Re)Port on Fargo-based WDAY AM970 from noon-2pm weekdays.

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