At the beginning of last month, we broke the news that Rep. Luke Simons (R – District 36) had put the final touches on a bill seeking to prohibit taxpayer funded gun buyback programs. Two days later, we followed up on that article after it was assigned a bill number— House Bill 1381. If the legislation becomes law, it would prohibit state agencies, political subdivisions, and law enforcement of the state from participating in the implementation, administration, or operation of a firearm buyback program.
In case you’re not familiar with gun buyback programs, they’re used as something of an alternative to gun control in an effort to reduce the number of guns in society. Participants bring in guns and exchange them for cash, gifts (usually gift cards), or vouchers. The programs are typically conducted with the help of law enforcement and the guns are destroyed.
A week ago today, HB 1381 passed the House on a vote of 66-26. But not before Rep. Ron Guggisberg (D – District 11) pleaded with his colleagues to defeat it. Unfortunately, the Representative from Fargo — who has a rating of 53% with the NRA — couldn’t even be completely honest in his comments. Guggisberg told the members of the House that the only state doing gun buybacks is New York. This is simply not true, and he knows it.
Rep. Guggisberg sits on the Political Subdivisions committee that heard the bill. And according to information obtained by The Minuteman, not only was he in attendance at the hearing, but he had access to testimony that sourced numerous states, besides New York, that conduct these programs.
Apparently Guggisberg isn’t the only one who’s not happy with the possibility of taxpayer funded gun buyback programs being prohibited in North Dakota. The Forum published an article today titled, “N.D. Gun Buyback Bill Criticized by Gun-Control Advocates as ‘Dumbest Piece of Legislation’“. It features two advocates of gun buybacks — one of them from the New York Times — who aren’t fond of HB 1381.
The one advocate described the bill as the “single dumbest piece of legislation enacted anywhere in the United States.” The other as, “dumbest bit of legislation so far this year.” Fascinating how similar their statements are, isn’t it? Coincidence? I doubt it.
It seems the main argument against the bill prohibiting buybacks is that they’ve not been done in North Dakota. Such an argument isn’t exactly surprising, because those who are honest with themselves know that the programs are failures when it comes to things like reducing crime— a fact that even Rep. Guggisberg admitted to.
Perhaps the best part of the floor debate on HB 1381 came when Rep. Guggisberg thought he had Rep. Simons in a gotcha situation. The other argument against prohibiting buybacks is “local control”. Simons had used the example of the Fargo Police Department to point out that they are funded with “the people’s money” (i.e. taxpayer dollars). Guggisberg rose and asked this question:
“Rep. Simons, you mention Fargo PD in your previous speech. I was wondering, if you have any evidence that the Fargo Police Department is going to conduct a gun buyback program.”
Rep. Simons’ answer was perfect:
“No, I don’t. I don’t have any evidence at all. I do know they did support the Red Flag Bill though.”
Simons is absolutely correct. How many people thought a Red Flag Bill would be proposed in North Dakota? I’d dare say not too many. But it was. And while it was defeated — thankfully — it wasn’t before representation from the Fargo Police Department made their appearance at a news conference to voice their support for the atrocity.
Whether they’re done in the name of taking guns off the streets, reducing crime, or preventing suicide; is it really that far of a stretch to believe that gun buybacks could also be attempted in the state as well? I don’t believe it is.
The idea that we must wait for firearm buyback programs to actually take place in North Dakota, before proposing legislation to prohibit them, is actually quite ridiculous. Especially when we consider the fact that the gun control movement known as “March for Our Lives” came to North Dakota just eight months ago to advocate for their cause— a cause that includes gun buyback programs.
Gun control advocates — in and out of the state — can cry “dumbest piece of legislation” all they want. As one state senator pointed out to me today, when we consider who statements like these are coming from, it’s really a badge of honor. I agree. Furthermore, such a statement is actually quite amusing, because in saying such a thing they actually strengthen the idea that HB 1381 is needed. Think about it— if those who support such programs truly thought they’d never be carried out in North Dakota, then why would they care if they were prohibited by law?
As Rep. Simons told the Forum, now is the time — not later — to send a message that taxpayer funded firearm buyback programs aren’t welcome in North Dakota.
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