Concealed Weapons Legislation - KXNet.com - Bismarck/Minot/Williston/Dickinson-KXNEWS,ND

Concealed Weapons Legislation

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North Dakota lawmakers are looking at changing where people with concealed weapon permits can have guns.

The House Judiciary committee heard seven gun related bills, most of them pertaining to the state's concealed carry laws.

But the bill drawing the most debate was over whether or not to allow weapons in schools and churches.

Donnell Preskey has the story.

Schools and churches are still off limits when it comes to guns -- even if you have a concealed weapon permit.

But House Bill 1289 would change that, allowing those with a concealed weapon permit to bring their gun into a church or school with permission from the pastor, principal or school board.

Pastor Jay Reinke/Concordia Lutheran Church, Williston: "By changing this bill, we are not endangering life, we are protecting life."

It's an issue Pastor Jay Reinke's congregations in Williston and Grassy Butte already support.

Pastor Reinke "if a gunman comes into the building I will likely be the one taken out. But I want somebody there to protect those children and families."

Bryan Mckown/Fargo Parent: "I believe this bill gives us an opportunity at a very personal level to send a very clear message to anyone that wishes to do harm to anyone in our churches or schools that we're not going to allow it anymore."

Bryan Mckown is a parent, who is in the process of getting the permit to carry a concealed weapon.

He's concerned about how vulnerable schools are without guns.

Bryan Mckown/Fargo Parent: "These areas that have been off limits to firearms have been targets. They have been targets of very cowardless individuals. It is obvious they are the targets. Lets take the target down."

Jon Martinson/ND School Board Association: "not much about this bill we like."

Educators who testified against the bill say guns don't belong in schools.

Martinson: "if you are serious about this, then hire a resource officer. Leaving this up to a principal is not the way to go."

Those representing schools share the same sentiment - guns are not the solution to solving gun violence in schools.

Bev Nielson/ND Council of Educational Leaders: "that's what we would ask of you is to provide resources to have trained officers in the school not just somebody who can shoot a tin can off a log."

Under this bill, the decision is up to each school and church. If they don't grant permission, guns are banned.

A separate bill would allow schools to go into executive session to decide if guns should be allowed and by whom.

That information would be kept confidential.

Numerous parents opposed that idea, saying it's their right to know who is carrying a gun in their child's school.

Another bill reverses a law to allow concealed weapons in places that sell lottery tickets like gas stations and grocery stores.

Guns are currently not allowed in all gaming sites.

And Representative Kempenich is proposing getting rid of North Dakota's concealed weapon bill all together -- allowing any North Dakota resident the ability to carry a concealed gun.

Legislation was also proposed that forbid's North Dakota law enforcement from enforcing new federal gun control legislation.

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