North Dakota lawmakers to consider new round of gun bills

The North Dakota Capitol in Bismarck. Photo illustration by Troy Becker BISMARCK — North Dakota lawmakers are poised to consider bills allowing concealed weapon permit holders to pack heat in public buildings, legalizing so-called “bump stocks” that speed up a gun’s rate of fire and creating an “armed first responder program” in schools. A round of gun legislation is scheduled to be heard in a House committee Thursday, Jan. 17. Already a conservative state with relatively high rates of firearm ownership, North Dakota is “becoming more gun-friendly,” according to Sebastian Ertelt, R-Lisbon, the primary sponsor of a few gun bills this session. “I believe in the original intent of what the Constitution said,” said Dickinson Republican Rep. Luke Simons, the backer of several gun bills. “I carry mine every day in my chest pocket. … I give them out like candy on the floor.” Two years ago, lawmakers approved a so-called “constitutional carry” law that generated plenty of headlines but little resistance in the Republican-controlled statehouse. The statute allows law-abiding people to carry a concealed firearm without a permit. After signing the bill, Republican Gov. Doug Burgum said “gun ownership is both a right and a responsibility, and that responsibility begins with individuals and families.” The governor’s spokesman, Mike Nowatzki, said Burgum is not pushing any gun legislation this session and would wait to comment on bills when they reach his desk. Some legislation appears to be inspired by national events that occurred after lawmakers adjourned the 2017 session, […]

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