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Proposed gun law could impact ND law enforcement
A new concealed firearm bill proposed early in North Dakota's 2017 legislative session could have significant impact on law enforcement.
Republican lawmakers have proposed a bill to allow gun owners over age 21 to conceal and carry without a permit in North Dakota.
Rep. Rick Becker, R-Bismarck, introduced legislation Jan. 6 to allow people who are at least 21 years old to carry "any firearm or dangerous weapon concealed unless otherwise prohibited by law."
Lt. B.J. Maxson with the Grand Forks County Sheriff's Office said he is neutral on the bill, but noted the biggest concern would be for the well-being of officers and the public.
"You always have to think of officer safety," Maxson said
Current concealed weapons laws are on the books for a reason, Maxson said.
North Dakota offers Class 1 and Class 2 licenses for carrying a concealed weapon. Class 1 licenses are recognized by 39 states and are for people who are at least 21 years old. Class 2 licenses are recognized by 25 states and can be obtained by people who are at least 18 years old, according to the North Dakota Attorney General's website.
There are 48,700 active concealed weapons licenses in North Dakota, according to the Attorney General's office. Of those, 10,439 are Class 1 and 38,261 are Class 2.
Officers are always trained to ask people who are stopped if they have any weapons, Maxson said. They're also trained to anticipate if there may be weapons on a person or in a vehicle. He said concealed weapon licenses in North Dakota come up when officers run a driver's license. The most important thing for officers is having as much information as possible.
The bill's sponsor said it would not affect officers.
"This doesn't increase the risk or danger for police officers at all," Becker told Forum News Service.
The legislation, House Bill 1169, has been introduced but not yet voted upon.
By Andrew Hazzard on Jan 21, 2017 at 12:15 p.m.