An oversight in the recently passed Constitutional Carry bill has been discovered. And it’s pretty important for those of us who intend on utilizing our right to carry concealed. My personal investigation started when I was sent this picture that is now circulating on Facebook:
In part, the law cited above, in the North Dakota Century Code, is as follows: “62.1-02-10. Carrying loaded firearm in certain vehicles prohibited – Penalty – Exceptions.
“An individual may not keep or carry a loaded firearm in or on any motor vehicle, including an off-highway vehicle or snowmobile in this state. An individual violating this section is guilty of a class B misdemeanor. This prohibition does not apply to:
“1. A member of the armed forces of the United States or national guard, organized reserves, state defense forces, or state guard organizations while possessing the firearm issued to the member by the organization and while on official duty.
“2. A law enforcement officer.
“3. An individual possessing a valid concealed weapons license from this state or who has reciprocity under section 62.1-04-03.1 with a handgun, or with a rifle or shotgun if not in the field hunting or trapping .” (Emphasis Added)
I want to make a very clear distinction in regards to the post by Dry Dock Sports and what the law actually says, because their post is not entirely correct. Qualified individuals can carry concealed in their vehicles without a Concealed Weapons Permit. But here is the distinction… individuals may not carry concealed in their vehicles with a “loaded firearm” . For our purposes here, it is also important to understand what the law means by “loaded” and “unloaded”. Section 62.1-01-01 defines it as this:
“17. “Unloaded” means the chamber of the firearm does not contain a loaded shell. If the firearm is a revolver, then none of the chambers in the cylinder may contain a loaded shell.”
How did this oversight happen? Well, the short answer is we’re not sure. When House Bill 1169 (HB 1169) was originally introduced by Rep. Rick C. Becker (R – District 7), it actually called for repeal of Section 62.1-02-10. But as it moved through committee, was amended, and simplified; the repeal of the section on carrying a loaded firearm in the vehicle was somehow removed without being noticed. And it was in this form that the amended bill came to the floor and ultimately to Governor Burgum’s desk.
While this is obviously not in accordance with the legislative intent of the bill, it is still a reality. If you are pulled over and caught with a loaded firearm in your vehicle – without a Concealed Weapons Permit – you may still be subject to a penalty .
As you can imagine, it brings me no great joy to break the news of this to you. But as the old saying goes, “It is what it is.” Perhaps this will be addressed in the 2019 Legislative Session. I don’t know. But right now I feel it is important that you do know. And it is important that you share this with others. I don’t want to see people prosecuted for something that they thought was completely legal with the new law– when, in fact, it is not.
As we now head to August 1st, when Constitutional Carry officially becomes law in North Dakota, it would be wise to consider the words of Governor Doug Burgum after he signed HB 1169:
“Gun ownership is both a right and a responsibility. That responsibility begins with individuals and families.”
Know the law. Be safe. Act responsibly. And be grateful for this historic legislation– in spite of the oversight.
http://www.legis.nd.gov/cencode/t62-1.html 3. https://theminutemanblog.com/single-post/2017/03/24/Let-Freedom-Ring-Thanking-our-Leaders-for-Constitutional-Carry 4. https://attorneygeneral.nd.gov/sites/ag/files/documents/CWManual.pdf