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Politics & Government

Guns in the Capitol bill defeated

The House has turned down a bill that would have allowed legislators and other state officials to carry guns in the state Capitol – if they have a concealed-carry permit.

Rep. Kathy Hawken (R-Fargo) is a member of the Judiciary Committee, which recommended against the measure. She says both supporters and opponents of the bill used the same argument.

"Those in favor said it would be safer if we had handguns in the chamber," Hawken told the House. "The Highway Patrol said they felt it would be safer if we did not."

The bill’s main sponsor – Rep. Ben Koppelman (R-West Fargo) – told the House the recent situation in the Canadian Parliament shows a potential need in a place like North Dakota, which prides itself on an open government.

"I, for one, do not want to see metal detectors and mass amounts of armed guards in our Capitol," said Koppelman. "But I want to make sure that we do something to have some preventative measure -- make them think twice."

The measure failed on a 47 to 45 vote.

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