Bill cuts list of dangerous weapons, allows guns at events

February 15, 2021 GMT

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — Some pro-gun North Dakota legislators are taking another shot at allowing law-abiding adults to carry hidden firearms at sporting and athletic events.

The legislation, sponsored by Dickinson Republican Luke Simons, also would cut nearly two dozen items from the state’s list of dangerous weapons, include switchblades, swords, daggers, “metal knuckles,” slingshots, bows and arrows and martial arts items such as “throwing stars.”

“There has never been a robbery with a throwing star,” Simons told the House Judiciary Committee on Monday.

Almost all of the testimony was centered around narrowing the list of dangerous weapons defined under North Dakota law, a move that largely was opposed by law enforcement and school officials.

No one on the 14-member committee questioned amending state law to allow people to legally carry firearms at a sporting or athletic event, something pro-gun lawmakers have sought to allow for several years.

Simons, a barber and rancher, said in an interview that expanding the state’s gun laws to include those activities “is the main intent” of HB 1339.

The House committee took no immediate action on the bill Monday. The full House will consider it later.

GOP Gov. Doug Burgum signed legislation in 2017 that allows most adults to carry a hidden firearm without a permit, which made North Dakota at the time one of about a dozen “constitutional carry” states.

The law allows law-abiding people 18 and older to forgo background checks and the classes. The legislation only requires someone carrying a concealed weapon to have a valid ID and notify law enforcement of the weapon during instances such as a traffic stop.

Supporters said the law promotes the constitutional right to bear arms and allows protection from criminals. Critics worry it could lead to more shootings as people with less training would be carrying weapons.

It was part of package of gun-rights measures pushed by North Dakota’s Republican-led Legislature at the time.

Firearms still cannot be legally carried at some places, including sporting and athletic events, schools, public buildings and churches, unless a church gives permission.