Today was a gun bill day of sorts for the North Dakota House. The two most prominent bills were HB 1169 (Constitutional Carry) and HB 1310 (Concealed Carry in Schools)– both of which came out of committee last week with Do Pass recommendations.
Constitutional Carry had little floor debate with only Rep. Greg Westlind (R – District 15) standing to urge a no vote on the bill. Westlind described himself as a Class 2 Concealed Carry Permit holder and expressed his view that carrying a concealed weapon was a "privilege". His comments were not very Republican at all and certainly weren’t based on a sound constitutional footing.
In the end, the overwhelming majority saw through Westlind’s illogical arguments and voted in favor of the Constitutional Carry bill 83-9. The bill will now go to the Senate for consideration. Should it pass there and be signed into law by Governor Burgum, it will allow any North Dakota resident 21 years old and older to carry concealed without a permit– provided they are not otherwise prohibited by law from doing so.
Concealed Carry in Schools had no floor debate. Don’t let the name it has come to be known by fool you. It’s not exactly as wonderful as it sounds, nor as simple as originally intended. Rep. Pat Heinert (R – District 32) carried the bill to the floor and explained in detail the regulatory intricacies of the bill.
The list of regulations is too long for the purposes of this article, but aside from the extensive application process to the Department of Public Instruction, the requirements for an individual to be able to be permitted to carry in a school are exhausting. So exhausting that it may turn out that not a single school in the state takes advantage of the bill if it does become law. Which the skeptic in me says is possibly the reason for all the regulatory hoops. Regardless, the bill will move on to the Senate with a 73-19 vote.