North Dakota is the latest state to adopt a new gun rights law making it easier for law-abiding citizens to protect and defend themselves. North Dakota’s new permitless carry law means law-abiding gun owners who wish to exercise their Second Amendment freedoms can now do so without the burden of government fees and mandates.
North Dakotans, like Americans all across the country, are increasingly taking protection and safety into their own hands. Recognizing that, House Bill 1169 simply gives gun owners another option for self-defense.
Acknowledging this new reality, the National Rifle Association backed HB1169 in the Legislature this year to give gun owners greater flexibility when it comes to defending their homes and families. While this new law allows gun owners to carry a concealed handgun without a permit, the state’s existing permitting system remains in place for those citizens to obtain permits and take advantage of reciprocity agreements with other states.
Permitless carry, sometimes called constitutional carry, is not new. Vermont has never required any kind of permit for citizens to carry concealed. Over the years, more and more states have adopted that same approach for exercising our fundamental, constitutional right to self-protection. Including North Dakota, 12 states allow their citizens to carry a concealed handgun without a permit. Our neighbor Montana allows permitless carry for all areas outside city limits – 99.4 percent of the state. Thirty-one states have allowed permitless open carry throughout the 20th and 21st centuries. Permitless carry simply recognizes that it is often more convenient and socially acceptable to carry discretely in today’s society.
It’s important for people to know the facts about permitless carry.
• Permitless carry does not change prohibited person laws or any law governing the misuse of a firearm (illegal brandishing, discharge, threatening, etc.).
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• Permitless carry does not change prohibited places where a firearm cannot be carried.
• Permitless carry does not change the laws relating to when force may be used in self-defense.
• Private property owners still maintain discretion over their own property, including whether and on what terms to allow firearms.
We know from publicly available records that permitless carry laws do not lead to a “wild, wild West scenario” depicted by critics. The NRA reviewed all the states that have enacted a relevant law and for which sufficient public data is available for both the pre- and post-law periods. Three states that meet both requirements: Alaska, Arizona, and Wyoming.
• After Alaska adopted permitless carry in 2003, there was no spike in the number of murders, including those committed with guns – and with handguns explicitly.
• After Arizona adopted permitless carry in 2010, the percent of murders committed with a handgun decreased from an average of 60 percent per year to less than 50 percent. The percentage of murders that were committed with a gun of any type declined after permitless carry.
• Wyoming has historically had few murders and that trend continued after permitless carry took effect in 2011.
The National Rifle Association thanks the bill sponsor, Rep. Rick Becker, R-Bismarck, and Gov. Doug Burgum for making our Second Amendment freedoms a priority in North Dakota. Their support, along with the thousands of phone calls and emails from grassroots activists across the state, will ensure law-abiding North Dakotans have greater flexibility in defending themselves, their homes, and the families. Criminals carry guns, regardless of the laws. Permitless carry simply puts the law-abiding North Dakotans on equal footing.
Chris Kopacki is a former police officer and the legislative liaison for the National Rifle Association.