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North Dakota state Capitol

The North Dakota state Capitol in Bismarck is offset by flowers in full bloom in June 2018.

Gov. Doug Burgum on Wednesday signed a bill allowing mostly rural schools in North Dakota to develop a plan for an "armed first responder." 

Former Burleigh County Sheriff and current Rep. Pat Heinert, R-Bismarck, brought House Bill 1332 after a similar bill failed in the 2017 session. 

The bill essentially allows schools without a school resource officer or at great distance from law enforcement to develop a plan with the North Dakota Department of Public Instruction for an "armed first responder," who may not be anyone with direct supervision of students.The bill also outlines training. 

The Senate amended the bill to make a school's safety plan a confidential record. The House concurred 75-15 on the amended bill.

Heinert and other lawmakers stressed the bill is not a mandate but an option for schools, mostly rural ones. Opponents of the bill questioned how the person designated to carry a gun may act in a crisis. 

The bill takes effect Aug. 1.

Reach Jack Dura at 701-223-8482 or jack.dura@bismarcktribune.com.

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