Port: Fargo’s gun ordinance tantrum is a contrived controversy


MINOT, N.D. — To hear some of Fargo’s city leaders tell it, our state legislators are a bunch of bullies who are trying to interfere with their community’s ability to keep itself safe.

This teapot tempest is a rank bit of grandstanding perpetrated not toward some meaningful policy end but to titillate a certain sort of voter. Specifically, the sort of voter who expects their leaders to be anti-gun rather than pro-safety.

At issue is a Fargo city ordinance prohibiting firearms dealers from operating in residential neighborhoods, and you really need the backstory to understand the absurdity of the present situation.

For years, this ordinance went overlooked , and certain firearms dealers who operate from their homes, accepting fees to facilitate online firearms transactions, went about their business, causing zero problems. Federal law states that if you purchase a firearm online or through the mail, it has to be shipped to someone holding a federal license. It can’t just be delivered directly to you. These license holders have been filling that role.

Or, they were, until the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms noticed the ordinance and told the license holders they couldn’t be renewed until it was changed.

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