ND Lawmakers Will Consider Bill Legalizing Concealed Carry In Schools

Back in December state Rep. Dwight Kiefert, a Republican from District 24 (Valley City), wrote a guest post for SAB pledging his on-going efforts to pass legislation allowing concealed carry in North Dakota schools.

True to his word, Rep. Kiefert has shared with me a bill draft which does just that. It’s similar to HB1215 with Kiefert introduced in the 2013 session. That legislation allowed anyone with a valid concealed carry permit to carry on school property if he or she had the approval of the school’s governing body. It also allowed said governing bodies to consider who will be allowed to carry concealed in executive session.

The draft legislation Kiefert has proposed for the 2015 session doesn’t have a bill number yet, but you can read it below. It is much more extensive than the previous bill, allowing concealed carry on school property under these conditions:

  • The individual has a valid class 1 concealed weapons license from North Dakota
  • The individual has the approval of the public or private school’s governing body
  • Said approval hinges on the individual “training¬†with local law enforcement for school emergencies to provide a coordinated plan¬†of protection.” Schools are authorized to require additional training for safety, active shooter response and psychological background checks.

The bill would also require that school governing bodies alert local law enforcement to anyone they’ve authorized to carry concealed on their property, and it exempts all meetings and records related to these issues from open meeting/open records requests.

I’ve asked Kiefert previously about why he includes these requirements for executive sessions and closed records, and he said it was to enhance school safety by keeping from the public information about who may or may not be carrying concealed on school grounds.

I’m a firm believer in the idea that our schools (not to mention our campuses, public buildings, etc.) are targets for shooters over and over again because they’re “gun free zones.” Shooters looking to put up a big body count are logically going to seek places where they have a chance to shoot the longest without being shot back at.

Kiefert’s bill was passed by the state House in 2013, but it was defeated in the Senate. This new iteration of the legislation is obviously crafted to allay concerns of lawmakers who voted against it last time, but one wonders if it has become such a complicated bill that few school districts would bother with it.

Between the training and the evaluations, it might be more cost effective for school districts to work with law enforcement to place resources officers in their schools. I know that’s an issue for smaller communities which don’t have the budget for that kind of personnel, but would they have the budget to pay for a non-law enforcement personnel to get the training needed to carry concealed under this law? Would the schools have to carry additional liability insurance because of this?

I’d like to know more about the cost implications of implementing something like this.

Rob Port is the editor of SayAnythingBlog.com, a columnist for the Forum News Service, and host of the Plain Talk Podcast which you can subscribe to by clicking here.

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