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Campus gun measure defeated

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The Dickinson Press
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BISMARCK (AP) -- Senators narrowly defeated a proposal to allow North Dakota's college students to keep guns in campus apartments, with the bill's critics saying school policies already work well to regulate firearms.

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Some of North Dakota's public colleges have storage centers for guns that are accessible around the clock, said Sen. Carolyn Nelson, D-Fargo. Dickinson State University permits students to bring guns to campus, if they are kept in cases in locked car trunks, she said.

"Students are not losing their rights to have guns," Nelson said.

Senators deadlocked 23-23 on the measure Friday. In the 47-member Senate, a bill needs a minimum of 24 votes to win approval.

As introduced in the House, the legislation would have allowed individuals to carry concealed weapons in most public areas on North Dakota's college campuses, if the gun owner had a permit to carry a concealed pistol.

The measure's focus was later narrowed. The version the Senate defeated Friday would have allowed some students to have guns in their campus apartments and in their vehicles.

The measure applied only to individuals who had permits to carry concealed weapons, or who had hunting licenses or training. It did not allow guns in campus dormitories or classroom buildings.

Sen. Dick Dever, R-Bismarck, said shootings on college campuses have been carried out by people who ignore existing laws. He argued that students who were willing to follow certain restrictions should be allowed to have firearms on some campus property.

The measure "does not allow people to walk across campus with a gun in their backpack, or into classrooms, or anything like that," Dever said.

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