N.D. students could have guns in apartmentsBISMARCK (AP) — North Dakota college students should be able to keep guns in campus apartments and parking garages but carrying concealed pistols on campus is still off limits, the state House has concluded.
BISMARCK (AP) — North Dakota college students should be able to keep guns in campus apartments and parking garages but carrying concealed pistols on campus is still off limits, the state House has concluded.
Representatives on Wednesday voted 48-46 to approve the gun measure — a House bill needs a minimum of 48 votes for approval — despite opponents’ pleas that giving students expanded gun rights on campus would not make colleges any safer. The legislation now goes to the state Senate.
“I think that this bill may cause more problems than it solves,” said Rep. Gary Sukut, R-Williston.
Rep. Bette Grande, R-Fargo, said worries about the legislation were overblown. The bill simply allows students to have guns in their campus apartments and does not allow guns in dormitories or Greek houses, she said.
“All the excuses about the university campuses have been removed. You cannot take (a gun) into the child-care areas, the eating areas, the classrooms, the offices,” Grande said. “This is strictly for the apartment you’re living in. It’s so that you can protect yourself on your property.”
As introduced, the measure would have allowed students who had permits to carry concealed weapons to have them at most campus locations.
The bill’s current version allows a student to have a gun in his or her campus apartment if he or she has taken a hunter safety course or has a concealed-carry permit.
Getting a permit to carry a concealed weapon involves being fingerprinted, undergoing a criminal background check and passing a test on gun handling and safety. Hunter safety courses do not require fingerprinting or a background check.
University administrators and police officials lobbied heavily against the bill. Rep. Stacey Dahl, R-Grand Forks, said the legislation still gives college administrators the option of drafting policies to ban guns in locations where the bill would allow them.
Rep. Glen Froseth, R-Kenmare, said North Dakota campuses have day care centers within their apartment complexes. Some students live in apartments with their families and children, he said.
“This bill does not give me a very good comfort level that my grandkids at the University of North Dakota will be any safer,” Froseth said. “I think we’re opening the door for potential abuse and misuse of our right to bear arms.”