The state Senate today easily passed HB1169, a “constitutional carry” bill introduced by Rep. Rick Becker (R-Bismarck).
The bill essentially allows for any North Dakota citizen to carry concealed unless they are otherwise restricted from possessing/carrying a firearm by law. There were a couple of tweaks made at the behest of law enforcement. For one, this bill defines a North Dakota resident as someone living here for more than a year. State law defines residency for everything else, including voting, at thirty days. Bill carrier Senator Kelly Armstrong (R-Dickinson) said law enforcement wanted this change in part because of the situation with #NoDAPL protesters “in southern Morton County.”
The bill also requires that anyone carrying concealed notify any cop they come into contact about it. So if you’re carrying concealed and an officer pulls you over for a speeding ticket you have a duty to inform.
People carrying concealed also need to be carrying a form of state-issued photo ID.
Armstrong pointed out that North Dakota’s current testing requirements for a class 2 license are pretty lax. Senator Carolyn Nelson (D-Fargo) agreed, and said that was a reason to defeat the bill. “If you can read you can pass the test,” she said of the current requirement.
“I live in downtown Fargo. There are some people down there, if they were carrying I’d be afraid,” she added.
It doesn’t seem as though Senator Nelson has a very high opinion of her constituents.
Senator Erin Oban (D-Bismarck) asked if the current class 2 licensing requirements stop criminals from carrying weapons. Armstrong said no, pointing out that it is the “nature of criminals” not to follow laws.
Senator David Houge (R-Minot) made an interesting point about the law. He noted that the gun rights established in North Dakota’s state constitution are “significantly broader” than those in the U.S. Constitution. 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.
That’s a good point, though I should point out that the state’s current concealed carry licenses will remain in law for anyone wishing to get one for the sake of reciprocity.
The bill passed on a 34-13 vote. There were no amendments to the bill made in the Senate, so the legislation now goes to Governor Doug Burgum for signature. I think he’ll sign it, but keep in mind that Republican Governor Dennis Dauguard of South Dakota just vetoed a similar bill.
A screenshot of the roll call is above. Here’s video of the floor debate: