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Politics & Government

Concealed gun expansion bills passed by ND House

The House has passed three bills to allow people with permits to carry a concealed gun in public places.

One bill dealt with churches. A second dealt with public gatherings, including concerts and political rallies. A third bill would allow someone to carry a concealed gun in schools if the school board granted permission.

The last bill led to a lengthy debate. Rep. Bill Amerman D-Forman) says he can’t agree with the supporters’ argument that if a shooter knows there are guns in a school, that shooter won’t go there.

"Not only are they going there to kill the children and shoot up the school, they're going there to die," said Amerman. "Most of them take their own lives. So they're not going to worry if someone there is packin' a gun."

But the bill’s sponsor – Rep. Dwight Kiefert (R-Valley City) – argued that because there are many rural schools in North Dakota, it takes time for law enforcement to respond to an incident at the school.

"We've got schools in North Dakota that have a response time of over half an hour for law enforcement to show up," said Kiefert. "When you vote 'no,' you're going to send a message that 'we're not going to protect you.'"

That bill passed 60-31 -- and will now be considered by the Senate. The other bills received at least 58 votes each.

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