Currently carrying a concealed weapon in public buildings is verboten even for those citizens with concealed carry licenses. But HB1157, sponsored by Rep. Ben Koppelman (R-West Fargo), would create an exception in the law for elected officials with concealed carry permits.
The full law is below. Here’s the pertinent part:
This bill joins HB1215, which aims to allow concealed carry on school property by certain designated people, in aiming to bring more guns onto public property in North Dakota.
I am staunch advocate for our civil right to keep and bear arms, but at first blush I’m not a fan of HB1157. I don’t like creating special classes in the law of people who get to exercise extra rights. I suppose the idea is that elected officials should be able to carry concealed if they want to protect themselves against possible attack.
That’s an understandable desire. Politics is a business that is very often fraught with controversy and emotion. North Dakota elected officials are fantastically accessible. It would be all too easy for some nut job to walk up to one of them and start shooting.
But why just elected officials? If someone were to charge into the governor’s office to shoot the place up, shouldn’t the governor’s staff be allowed to protect themselves too? Does being elected to public office bestow upon politicians some additional rights to self defense?
I say it’s all or nothing. Either we allow all concealed carry permit holders into public buildings, or none at all.
I should add that concealed carry by our elected officials in public buildings is already happening, though I can’t say to what extent. I do know of more than one elected official who carried a concealed weapon in the state capitol. And, frankly, given some of the threats they receive I didn’t blame them a bit.