Read It: Legislation Would Make It Legal for North Dakota Citizens to Carry Concealed Weapons Without a Permit

State Rep. Rick Becker is in the process of introducing legislation which would allow citizens of North Dakota to carry concealed weapons without a permit.

The legislation hasn’t been filed yet – Becker is still circulating it among his colleagues for additional sponsorship – but he was kind enough to give me a copy of it which you can read below.

It’s a lot of legalese, because the concealed carry requirement is mentioned in a lot of different parts of the state statute, but the thrust of the changes are encapsulated in these changes to Section 62.1-04-02 of the North Dakota Century Code:

So basically, if you’re over the age of 21 and not otherwise prohibited by law, you can carry a concealed weapon. That’s the big change.

Currently, to carry concealed in North Dakota, you have to get a license. There are two types currently available, a Class 1 license and a Class 2 license. Per the Attorney General’s website, the only real difference between the two classes is reciprocity. The Class 1 license is more arduous to obtain, but allows the person who obtains one to carry concealed in more states than the Class 2 license.

[mks_pullquote align=”right” width=”300″ size=”24″ bg_color=”#ffffff” txt_color=”#000000″]If this legislation passes North Dakota citizens over the age of 21 can carry concealed without a permit, but if they want to be able to do so in other states they’ll have to get one of the two existing licenses.[/mks_pullquote]

To be clear, both levels of license have reciprocity, but the Class 1 license has more.

Becker told me this afternoon that he wants to leave all of that in place. “My intentions are not to make any changes to the Class 1 or Class 2 licenses,” he said.

That’s important. One area of concern about these sort of changes is the reciprocity question. When I’ve spoken to Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem about this in the past he’s told me that he supports this change but only in so far as it doesn’t risk reciprocity with other states.

It appears as though Becker has crafted his legislation to avoid those complications. If this legislation passes North Dakota citizens over the age of 21 can carry concealed without a permit, but if they want to be able to do so in other states they’ll have to get one of the two existing licenses.

Makes sense to me. The concealed carry laws are a mess. They’re difficult to understand and in some instances are utterly absurd – if you’re driving to the gun range and your legally-owned weapon slides under your seat you’re now illegally concealing a weapon – and the consequences for running afoul of them are severe. They need to be simplified.

So where will the push back to this legislation come from? Aside from the anti-gun crowd generally, law enforcement officials have said they’re concerned about not having a registry of citizens who are carrying concealed. Which seems a dubious objection given a) bearing arms is a civil right enshrined in our state and national constitutions and b) the sort of person who would use a weapon against a cop probably isn’t going to be too concerned about making sure they have the proper licenses.

Cops should, and do, assume that everyone is armed.

Becker should be filing the legislation later this week. Here’s the draft copy he provided me:

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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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