North Dakota House passes bill to let lawmakers take guns in public buildings

The North Dakota House of Representatives has passed a bill that would allow lawmakers to carry concealed guns into public buildings and gatherings.

Lawmakers in the House passed the bill Tuesday on a 86-5 vote, the Billings Gazette reported. The measure, Senate Bill 2139, now heads back to the Senate for approval of minor changes made by the House.

If passed in the Senate and signed into law, lawmakers and other qualified elected officials would have to obtain an enhanced concealed carry permit and receive the same firearms training as law enforcement officers.

Current North Dakota law allows attorney general staff members, municipal and district court judges, and retired law enforcement officers to carry concealed handguns into public buildings and gatherings.

A public gathering is currently defined as a school or school function, and as an athletic or sporting event.

While Republican Rep. Pat Heinert described the measure as a “good bill,” there were a few lawmakers who voted against the legislation, such as Democrat Rep. Pam Anderson.

“Think of it — I could be walking around with a gun, and that should make everybody nervous,” Anderson said.

Republican Gov. Doug Burgum would not comment on the bill before it reached his desk.