Monday, January 26, 2015

ND: Gun Law Reform Introduced

An omnibus gun law reform bill has been introduced in North Dakota by Representative Roscoe Streyle, from Minot.  The bill, HB 1241(pdf), would bring into law many reforms that have proven popular in other states.   Among the reforms in the bill:

1. The restrictions on the use of legal gun mufflers and short barreled rifles for hunting would be removed.  These restrictions never made any sense, and are being eliminated all over the country.  35 states do not prevent the use of gun mufflers for hunting; no legislative purpose for the heavy handed restrictions on gun mufflers has been found.  From the bill:
An individual in lawful possession of a device that will silence or deaden the sound or natural report of a firearm when the firearm is discharged may hunt any game for which the individual is licensed and for which a firearm is allowed with that device for or attached to the firearm.

An individual in lawful possession of a short-barreled rifle may hunt any game for which the individual is licensed and for which a rifle is allowed.

2. Restrictions on people with concealed carry permits are removed for a number of 'gun free zones'.    The zones to be eliminated for permit holders include church functions, publicly owned parks(where hunting is not allowed), political rallies or functions, and musical concerts.   As concealed carry permit holders have been found to be more responsible than police officers, this is a "good first step" for gun law reform.   Permit holders will be allowed to carry in retail outlets that sell alcoholic beverages, but only if they do not consume alcohol there.  From the bill(pdf):
2 b. An individual possessing a concealed weapons license from this state or who has reciprocity under section 62.1-04-03.1 for the weapon allowed by the license, if the individual does not consume alcoholic beverages at the establishment or site and is not under the influence of intoxicating liquor.
 3.   The law removes the prohibition on hunters and trappers from carrying a loaded handgun in their vehicle.   This last reform seems particularly valid as a safety measure to me.   Wisconsin used to have a law prohibiting the carry of loaded guns in vehicles.  This caused hunters and trappers to load and unload their firearms many times during the day.   Loading and unloading are some of the most dangerous times for firearms accidents.   Minimizing the number of times that firearms must be loaded and unloaded while hunting and trapping is likely to decrease firearm accidents.

4.  A "shall sign" requirement for Sheriffs and other Chief Law Enforcement Officers (CLEOs) to sign on the federal forms required to obtain tax stamps for gun mufflers and some firearms.  This has been a popular reform in a number odf states, to prevent local officials who are either afraid to approve of the federal tax forms, or who may have personal predjudice against approving them.  Legislation such as the above takes the ability to avoid signing these forms out of their hands.

HB 1241 was introduced by Representative Streyle, Brabandt, Karls, B. Koppelman, and Toman

It was introduced in the Senate by Armstrong, Larsen, and Unruh.   
Streyle cited the Second Amendment of the U.S. Constitution and gun rights in the state constitution then questioned the state conceal carry laws he was calling on to be reversed.

“Why do we carve out exemptions on where citizens are allowed to exercise their inalienable rights?” Streyle said. “As a state, we have given permission for people to carry conceal carry firearms, but we don’t trust those people to be responsible with firearms in certain locations.”

It was scheduled for a hearing in the House Energy and Natural Resources Committee last Thursday, 22 January, but a vote has not yet been reported.  Here is the NRAILA page for contacts of the representatives involved.

©2015 by Dean Weingarten: Permission to share is granted when this notice is included. Link to Gun Watch

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