Gun rights advocates enjoyed a significant victory in the remote lands of North Dakota this week after Republican Gov. Doug Burgum signed a bill that would allow the majority of adults to carry a concealed firearm without obtaining a permit.
North Dakota is set to join the rank of states that authorize constitutional carry, a nod to the Second Amendment that gives residents (and visitors, in some states) the right to have their handguns in the open or hidden as long as they are over 18 years old and hold a valid form of identification. The legislation will come into effect on August 1.
While the background checks and classes that were once required to concealed carry in North Dakota are no longer necessary, Burgum released a statement on Thursday urging residents to still take a gun safety course before purchasing a gun.
“Gun ownership is both a right and a responsibility. That responsibility begins with individuals and families,” the governor said.
Proponents of the bill, which include the National Rife Association and the vast majority of North Dakota’s GOP-led legislature, believe that it will reduce crime rates. Critics worry that the number of shootings will increase now that untrained people will be allowed to purchase and carry hidden guns.
Currently, North Dakota law punishes permitless concealed carry as a misdemeanor charge that carries up to 30 days in jail and a fine of up to $1,500. Roughly 48,700 North Dakotans hold a proper permit, a figure that represents a sizable proportion of the state’s 760,000 inhabitants.
Meanwhile in the other Dakota, South Dakota Gov. Dennis Daugaard (R) vetoed a similar bill, insisting that the state’s gun laws are permissive enough as it stands.