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AS I SEE IT

Posted 7/25/17 (Tue)

By Neal A. Shipman
Farmer Editor

Aug. 1 may not seem like an important date to most people, but in North Dakota it is the date when the majority of the laws passed by the state Legislature take effect. And this coming week, three of those laws dealing with the state’s constitutional carry, littering and child restraint take effect.
Constitutional Carry
House Bill 1169, which was passed by the Legislature and signed by the governor, allows citizens to carry a concealed weapon if they meet the eligibility requirements and have possessed a valid North Dakota driver’s license or ID card for at least one year.
Like many other states have done, North Dakota’s new law reinforces the broad right of our citizens to “keep and bear arms” as guaranteed by our federal constitution. With the constitutional carry law in place, any North Dakota citizen who is legally allowed to carry a gun will no longer have to prove to the government that they can do so. That right is guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution’s Second Amendment.
But with that right comes a big responsibility to those who choose to carry a concealed weapon. It is one thing to “strap on” a handgun or to have a firearm in their vehicle. But it is quite another to understand the responsibility and liability associated with doing so.
Anyone wishing to carry a concealed weapon under the authority of this new law will still be required to meet the eligibility requirements for receiving a Class 2 license. These conditions include being a North Dakota resident, at least 18 years of age, mentally fit, possessing a valid ID, and having no felony or violent crime convictions. In addition, other restrictions on carrying a concealed weapon still apply, including the prohibition at public gatherings, government buildings, and schools.
The new law also includes language that requires citizens to inform police officers if they are carrying a concealed weapon during traffic stops and other interactions.
Personally, I think that the state Legislature did the right thing by passing this new law. But at the same time, I also believe that every person who decides to carry a concealed weapon should go ahead and obtain either a Class 2 or Class 1 conceal carry license. Not only does obtaining these permits provide handgun owners with a basic understanding of their weapon, state laws and liability concerns, it also grants reciprocity with other states for those carrying a concealed weapon. Persons with a North Dakota Class 2 concealed carry permit have reciprocity with 17 other states, while those with a Class 1 permit have reciprocity with 39 other states.
New Littering Law
If you like to throw things out of your vehicle window or don’t like to secure things in the bed of your pickup which then blow out, then you had better like to pay more for that decision.
Effective Aug. 1, House Bill 1311 takes effect and increases the fine for littering on a publicly maintained roadway from $100 to $500.
Littering not only fills our roadside ditches with unattractive garbage, but increases the danger of fire, especially during dry conditions, when cigarettes are carelessly tossed out of a vehicle.
Child Safety Restraints
Who doesn’t want their children to be safe while they are in a motor vehicle?
And keeping children safe is the purpose of the changes made to North Dakota’s Child Passenger Safety Law, which now requires children younger than 8 years of age to ride in a child restraint (car seat or booster seat) unless they are 4’9” tall or greater. In addition, children ages 8 through 17 must be properly secured in a seat belt (or restraint, if needed).
The law carries a penalty of $25 and one point against the driver’s license for those persons who choose not to follow simple safety requirements.