The North Dakota Republican State Convention is set to take place at the Alerus Center in Grand Forks during the weekend of April 6th – 8th. As registrations for delegates to the event are being made, some of those attending are now less than enthusiastic upon being notified that the Alerus Center is apparently a gun-free zone… well, kind of. More on that in a bit.
In January of 2016, an announcement was made that stricter security measures were being implemented at the Alerus Center. The news came on the heels of the November 2015 terrorist attacks in Paris and the December 2015 San Bernardino Attack. You can see a current list of prohibited items here and here. As you can see, “weapons of any kind” and “firearms of any kind” are included.
As coincidence would have it, the January 2016 announcement came in preparation for a Jason Aldean concert. You may recall that the now infamous Las Vegas Shooting took place during a Jason Aldean concert on October 1st of last year. But I digress.
You can see one delegate’s reaction to the news on a North Dakota Republican’s Facebook post here:
I must admit that I can understand the frustration. After all, the Republican Party espouses itself as an advocate for the Right to Bear Arms. You can see it in both the Republican state and national party platforms. And it’s commonly held among Republicans in general that policies like those adopted by the Alerus Center actually don’t make people safer, they only make them defenseless targets in gun-free zones.
An interesting side note to all of this is that, just over a week ago, the Grand Forks Gun Show was held at the Alerus Center. You can’t make this stuff up. So, while thousands of guns are welcome in the form of a gun show, heaven forbid should law-abiding Republicans carry one in the name of a Constitutional right and self-defense.
Now, to be fair, there’s not really another suitable venue in Grand Forks that could handle an event like the NDGOP State Convention and would enable attendees to carry. The policy is one that appears to be out of the hands of North Dakota’s Republican Party. The Alerus Center is owned and operated by the City of Grand Forks.
Adding to the argument that their policy is inconsistent, and makes little sense, is this very good Letter to the Editor – printed just this morning – in the Grand Forks Herald. Consider this excerpt that describes what things looked like at the gun show:
“Thousands of rounds of ammo, thousands of handguns, rifles and shotguns of all types. Included were hundreds of the AR type so demonized, yet the most popular hunting, sport shooting and self-defense rifle in the US. Yet nobody was shot or killed and no ammo just went off. Not one gun got up and started shooting.
“NRA members everywhere, new members standing in line to renew or join the NRA. Open carry, others with a rifle over their shoulder looking to trade or sell.”
Isn’t that interesting? Draw your own conclusions, but this all seems inconsistent to me.
Even with armed security and law enforcement – which it’s my understanding will be in place – should people have to rely on others for their safety? In the future – and as a matter of principle – I’d recommend that the NDGOP avoid gun-free zones and negotiate venues that support their party’s platform.
***NOTE: The North Dakota Republicans Facebook page is not an official page of the NDGOP.