Committee says no to concealed weapons in schools bill
BISMARCK -- A Senate committee is recommending lawmakers reject a bill that would allow concealed weapons in North Dakota schools with the school's permission.
BISMARCK - A Senate committee is recommending lawmakers reject a bill that would allow concealed weapons in North Dakota schools with the school’s permission.
The Senate Education Committee gave House Bill 1195 a do-not-pass recommendation on a 4-2 vote Wednesday. The full Senate is scheduled to vote on the bill Friday.
It would allow someone with a valid North Dakota concealed weapons license to carry a concealed firearm on school property with permission from the public or private school. The school must provide for training with local law enforcement and inform them of who’s authorized to carry.
Sen. Tim Flakoll, R-Fargo, the committee’s chairman, said the majority felt legislation is already in place allowing for school resource officers, and districts need to prioritize funding toward that end.
Flakoll said concerns also were raised about whether armed school district staff could adequately respond to an active-shooter situation; whether districts that allow conceal-carry would have difficulty obtaining liability insurance; and that students from districts that don’t allow conceal-carry would interact with those that do.
“In the end, I don’t think the committee was overall comfortable with how the bill was written and that it would add safety,” he said.
The House passed the bill 53-38 last month.
Rep. Dwight Kiefert, R-Valley City, the bill’s prime sponsor, has said it would give schools where law enforcement is more than 30 minutes away an option to protect themselves and deter would-be shooters. Leaders of statewide groups representing teachers, school administrators and school boards have opposed the bill.
The Senate defeated Kiefert’s similar bill last session 18-27 after it passed the House 60-33.
Senators amended the current bill Thursday to make its mandatory psychological examination consistent with the evaluation required to become a state Bureau of Criminal Investigation agent.
The Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee also heard testimony Thursday on House Bill 1450, which would remove public parks from the list of public places where it’s a Class B misdemeanor to possess a firearm or dangerous weapon.
The House passed that bill 67-26 last month, at the same time defeating a bill that would have allowed lawmakers and some other public officials to pack heat in the state Capitol and other public buildings.