Earlier this week the state Senate passed a House bill allowing for North Dakota citizens with one year of residency to carry concealed weapons without a permit.
The bill went to Governor Doug Burgum’s office and, despite his campaign last year where he touted strong support for gun rights, there was concern that he might veto the bill. After all, South Dakota Governor Dennis Daugaard (an NRA member and gun rights proponent) rejected similar legislation recently.
Burgum’s spokesman had told me the Governor was undecided, but tonight Burgum announced he would be signing the bill into law. You can read the full press release below.
“North Dakota has a rich heritage of hunting and a culture of deep respect for firearm safety. As a hunter and gun owner myself, I strongly support gun rights for law-abiding citizens,” Burgum said. “House Bill 1169 allows citizens to exercise their Second Amendment right under the U.S. Constitution. It also is consistent with the North Dakota Constitution, which declares in Article I that all individuals have the inalienable right ‘to keep and bear arms for the defense of their person, family, property, and the state, and for lawful hunting, recreational, and other lawful purposes, which shall not be infringed.’ ”
During the campaign last year some were skeptical of Burgum’s stance on guns. Sure, he had a top rating from the NRA, but it came with a caveat. Burgum had never held office before. It’s one thing for a candidate with no record to say they support gun rights. It’s quite another to uphold those rights as a policymaker.
Burgum stuck to his campaign promises. Good for him, though it’s worth remembering that the Legislature passed this bill with majorities large enough to overturn a veto.
The point about North Dakota’s state constitution is a strong one. People often think only of the 2nd amendment in these debates, but North Dakota’s state constitution guarantees a much broader right to keep and bear firearms than the federal constitution.
Senator David Houge (R-Minot) made that point during the floor debate earlier this week. He said the state’s current requirements for carrying concealed were established to “keep up with reciprocity” in other states, but ignored the fact that our state constitution says citizens are allowed to carry a firearm without any sort of testing or fees.
Here’s the full release: