Attorney General Says Loaded Gun in Vehicle Okay Under Constitutional Carry

Way back in July, we broke the news that the newly passed “Constitutional Carry” law had a pretty serious oversight in it. That article was followed up with a detailed explanation of how that oversight came to be.

I’ll let you go back and read the details. But in a nutshell, when the Constitutional Carry legislation known as House Bill 1169 went through the committee process, it ended up being “hoghoused” . And as a result, the bill failed to repeal the section of law (NDCC 62.1-02-10) that prohibited loaded firearms in vehicles– though a repeal was included in the original bill.

Because of this, the verbiage found in this section maintained that one of the requirements to carry loaded in a vehicle be that an individual possess “a valid concealed weapons license”. When word spread about this, four lawmakers signed on to request an Attorney General’s opinion in order to determine how to proceed with the law.

Well, yesterday Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem finally issued his opinion on the matter . I highly encourage you to read it. His argument leading up to the following conclusion is quite fascinating:

“It is my opinion, that an individual’s valid driver’s license or sanctioned identification card is the equivalent of a “valid concealed weapons license” as required under N.D.C.C. § 62.1-02-10 with regard to what was previously only known as a class 2 concealed weapons license. Therefore, it is further my opinion that when an individual meets the qualifications for constitutional carry in North Dakota, a loaded gun may be stored in a vehicle but proper identification must be revealed to law enforcement upon a traffic stop or other in-person contact, as required in N.D.C.C § 62.1-04-04. This interpretation is consistent with the Legislature’s intent and accomplishes the statutes’ goals and objectives.” (Emphasis Added)

Without question, the new law contains a “glitch”– as the bill’s primary sponsor Rep. Rick C. Becker (R – District 7) called it. Had Becker’s original bill not been hoghoused, it wouldn’t have been an issue at all. But Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem recognized the intent of the legislation and feels he can still make the legal argument with the current verbiage to justify carrying a loaded firearm under Constitutional Carry. At the conclusion of his opinion, we find this statement:

“This opinion is issued pursuant to N.D.C.C. § 54-12-01. It governs the actions of public officials until such time as the question presented is decided by the courts.” (Emphasis Added)

Let’s hope that nobody challenges it in court and that the 2019 Legislative Assembly addresses it by repealing the section– something that was supposed to have been done in the first place. That way there’s no possibility of questions or conflict moving forward.

***Note: Constitutional Carry took effect back in August.


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About T. Arthur Mason 883 Articles
T. Arthur Mason is a native North Dakotan who has spent nearly all of his life in the Peace Garden State. As the third of four children in Western North Dakota, Mason grew to appreciate family and the outdoors. Some of his fondest memories are annual deer hunts with family and friends. In his early teenage years, faith became a central part of T. Arthur Mason's life. He and the majority of his family attend church together on a weekly basis and find this a fulfilling aspect of their lives. Through the influence of his father, T. Arthur Mason became intrigued with politics. As a boy, he attended political events with his father and enjoyed the friendships that resulted as a byproduct of those political associations. As Mason grew older, he became convinced that the quote often attributed to Thomas Jefferson was true, "That government is best which governs least." Today, T. Arthur Mason enjoys time with his wife and children, an occasional hunt, and an increasingly active life on the political scene. This blog is the fulfillment of a dream to design a web site in the realm of politics and to advocate for the principles of Liberty and constitutionally limited government. On behalf of all those that contribute to The Minuteman, we hope you enjoy your time on the site and will share the message with others.