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North Dakota governor signs 'constitutional carry' handgun bill into law

[JURIST] North Dakota Governor Doug Burgum signed House Bill 1169 [text, PDF] into law on Thursday, making his the 15th state to allow residents to carry concealed firearms without a permit. The bill was met with little opposition in the state legislature [materials], passing the House in a 83-9 vote, and the Senate in a 34-13 vote. The law, which goes into effect August 1, will allow North Dakota residents over the age of 18 to conceal a firearm so long as they have possessed a valid driver's license or state ID card for at least a year. The current law makes carrying a firearm without a permit a misdemeanor, with fines up to $1,500 and imprisonment up to 30 days for violators. In signing the bill into law, Burgum said [press release],

"Gun ownership is both a right and a responsibility, and that responsibility begins with individuals and families.North Dakota has a rich heritage of hunting and a culture of deep respect for firearm safety. As a hunter and gun owner myself, I strongly support gun rights for law-abiding citizens. House Bill 1169 allows citizens to exercise their Second Amendment right under the U.S. Constitution. It also is consistent with the North Dakota Constitution, which declares in Article I that all individuals have the inalienable right to keep and bear arms for the defense of their person, family, property, and the state, and for lawful hunting, recreational, and other lawful purposes, which shall not be infringed.
A statement from Burgum's office says that the new law "does not change the places designated in law as off-limits to conceal carry, including schools and publicly owned or operated buildings," although a bill to do so has been introduced [materials] in the state legislature.

The ability to carry concealed weapons, especially in churches and on college campuses, has become an increasingly prevanlent issue. Earlier this week, Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson signed into law [JURIST report] a bill allowing individuals over the age of 21 to get enhanced concealed carry permits which will allow them to carry concealed weapons at public colleges, airports, polling places, sporting events, some state offices and the state capitol. Last month, the New Hampshire House of Representatives approved a bill that would repeal the law [JURIST report] prohibiting state citizens from carrying concealed firearms without a permit. Earlier in February the US House of Representatives voted to repeal [text, PDF] an Obama-era gun regulation that required mental health information to be shared with the national gun background check system. In December Ohio Governor John Kasich signed Senate Bill 199 [JURIST report], making it legal to carry concealed weapons at daycare facilities and onto college campuses. Last September the US Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit restored [JURIST report] gun ownership rights of individuals convicted of minor crimes. Earlier that month the New Jersey Second Amendment Society filed [JURIST report] a lawsuit against the state's Attorney General in New Jersey's district court alleging the state's stun gun ban is unconstitutional.

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