Local sheriff reacts to new weapons law

Gov. Doug Burgum signed a bill into law loosening restrictions on the state’s conceal and carry laws.

Policeman with hand on gun holster

By COLE BENZ | Record Editor
cbenz@countrymedia.net

Gov. Doug Burgum signed a bill into law loosening restrictions on the state’s conceal and carry laws. House Bill 1169 would allow lawful gun owners to conceal and carry a firearm without a permit. The bill, dubbed the ‘constitutional carry’ bill, would allow individuals who aren’t otherwise prohibited from having a Class 2 conceal weapons permit, and have carried a valid North Dakota driver’s license or state issued identification card for one year, to be allowed to conceal and carry a firearm, with no permit.

Proponents of the bill, which was sponsored by Rep. Rick Becker (R), said that the steps required to get the permit were minimal anyway. Detractors said even the minimal steps offered lessons on the subject matter.

Either way, as of Aug. 1, 2017, the bill goes into effect and lawful weapons owners were be allowed to carry it, and conceal it, without a permit.

Adams County Sheriff Travis Collins said that there are good parts of the bill and some more concerning parts.

A big part of the new bill, which Collins likes, is the requirement to disclose possession of a firearm.

“That is one of the pluses of this new law, is that it is a requirement that if you are carrying a concealed weapon, and you are having contact with law enforcement you are required to advise them that you are carrying a concealed [weapon],” Collins said. “Which was recommended before for the safety of everyone, now it’s becoming a requirement, which is good, so no misunderstandings occur on either side.”

Collins wasn’t sure at the time of the interview if a person could be cited for failing to disclose the possession of a firearm under the new law, but he thinks it’s possible.

“I am not sure, I have not reviewed all of the little intricacies…I’m assuming if that’s one part of it, it very well could be a violation of some sort if they don’t disclose that,” he said. “But I would have to look into that a lot more.”

One thing that’s bound to change is the database of permits that the county receives. The county receives, from the North Dakota Bureau of Criminal Investigation, a list of permits issued in the county. Collins did say that the list was so big that rarely did they use it as a tool. But the other facet to monitoring permits, that was used much more by the sheriff and deputies, was the fact that when an individual was issued a permit, it was notated on the computer when the officer ran an individuals driver’s license.

These two things are presumably going to look different, given that it’s no longer required to carry a permit. However, Collins noted, that the list won’t completely go away, because the law does not cross over state borders. In fact, South Dakota Gov. Dennis Daugaard recently vetoed a similar bill in his state. The veto was initially thought to be overturned, but ultimately it was upheld.

“So if you wanted to go into South Dakota…if you don’t have that permit that had that reciprocity you wouldn’t be able to do that, this is [only for] North Dakota,” Collins said.

So individuals who want that reciprocity, will still need to take the course and open-book test to acquire the permit if they want to cross state lines.

Collins said his training and the direction he gives his deputies probably won’t change much even after this bill becomes law.

“It’s not necessarily going to change a whole lot, we’re just on alert overall,” Collins said.

Bottom line, Collins said he just wants people to be educated. Because along with firearm safety, there are many rules that are attached to carrying a gun, like where you can and can’t bring it. So to avoid injury, and violating standing law, Collins said get as much education as you can before you carry that firearm.