N.D. Concealed Weapons Vote

North Dakota lawmakers voted April 9 to approve legislation that expands where a concealed weapon license holder can legally carry a firearm, but most concerts will remain gun-free.

“If somebody wants to carry a concealed weapon to feel like John Wayne, that’s fine. If somebody wants to carry a concealed weapon because they see a bogeyman behind every tree, that’s fine. … But I have a little trouble when it comes to the concerts and to the parks,” said Rep. Bill Amerman, a Vietnam veteran, according to WDAZ-TV.

House members voted 74-19 to pass House Bill 1241. Under the bill, it is no longer a Class B misdemeanor to possess a firearm or dangerous weapon at political rallies or functions, concerts, publicly owned parks and publicly owned or operated rest areas or restrooms.

The Senate passed the bill 45-2 April 7. Bringing a firearm into a school, a church without church officials’ approval or a publicly owned or operated building will remain illegal. Supporters of the bill claim that would cover most concerts.

Amerman added that some concerts are held at private venues. If the proposed law passes, a person bringing a firearm to a venue would only have to show a concealed weapon permit. Rep. Jim Kasper told WDAZ-TV the bill is a chance for North Dakota to show its support for the constitutional right to bear arms and that “we want the God-fearing, honest people of our state to be able to have the right to protect themselves wherever they’re at.”

However, Reps. Corey Mock and Marie Strinden are against the bill, saying it strips local governments of the right to decide whether to allow concealed weapons in parks.

“If we’re not allowing the local parks to opt out of this, I just feel like that’s – for lack of a better word in this moment – a little tyranny on the part of the state,” Strinden said. The bill will next go to Gov. Jack Dalrymple for his approval, according to the station.