Concealed weapons violations on the riseConcealed weapons violations are on the rise and authorities say it may be due to unfamiliarity with North Dakota laws.
Concealed weapons violations are on the rise and authorities say it may be due to unfamiliarity with North Dakota laws.
“On a normal year, we see very few concealed weapons violations — we’re talking less than five a year for the Dickinson area,” said North Dakota Highway Patrol Sgt. Dan Haugen. “Lately, we’ve been seeing on average two a week.”
Haugen said he began to notice more violations this summer.
“While processing our evidence, we started to notice a lot more concealed weapons that were placed into evidence by our troopers.”
Most violations are coming from people who recently moved here from out of state and don’t realize they should have weapons sitting in plain view in a vehicle, he said.
“A concealed weapon is something that a
normal person would not see,” Stark County Sheriff’s Capt. Fern Moser said. “If it’s hidden underneath the seats, in between the seats or whatever, it’s considered concealed.”
Laws in at least one other state are opposite of North Dakota, requiring motorists to conceal their weapons, Haugen said.
“We’re finding them while we arrest them for a different violation of law, like driving under suspension or driving while under the influence,” Haugen said.
Violations haven’t been as prevalent in city limits.
“We haven’t seen any increase,” Dickinson Police Department Capt. Joe Cianni said.
Moser said motorists can have an unloaded gun anywhere in plain view.
A person without a permit can have an unloaded gun in a locked box or in the trunk, Moser said.
A concealed weapons permit allows the holder to have a loaded gun that’s out of sight, but within reach, he said.
However, concealed weapons laws don’t just apply to firearms, Haugen said.
“We’re finding various other weapons — lots of knives,” he added.
A knife is considered a “dangerous weapon,” if the blade is more than 5 inches long. Dangerous weapons can’t be concealed, including under clothing, according to North Dakota Century Code.
“I stopped somebody who had a big machete stuffed right between the driver’s door and the driver’s seat,” Moser said.
Concealed weapons laws don’t only apply to people in vehicles, Haugen said.
“Brass knuckles in your pocket walking down the street is considered a concealed weapon,” he added.
Those interested can pick up concealed weapons applications at sheriff’s department, Moser said.
Applicants can test for different classes of permit, which determines how many states will honor it, he added.
The permitting process includes fingerprinting and background checks, Moser said.
Violators will likely be arrested and given a misdemeanor charge, Haugen said.
Even those with permits are not allowed to carry concealed weapons in certain circumstances, such as in a liquor store or in a public gathering, according to law.
Concealed weapons applications in
Information courtesy of the
Stark County Sheriff’s Office.
(*As of Dec. 13)