The North Dakota House of Representatives overwhelmingly approved legislation that would exempt firearms and accompanying accessories from federal mandates, laws and regulations if those products remain within the state. The legislation is being coined as the “North Dakota gun sanctuary state bill.”
The lower chamber voted 69-23 Wednesday, Feb. 17, in favor of House Bill 1272. The bill will be forwarded to the Senate and if passed, sent to Gov. Doug Burgum's desk for signature.
Introduced by North Dakota’s District 36 Rep. Luke Simons, of Dickinson, the bill applies to firearms, firearm accessories and ammunition manufactured in North Dakota that remain within the state's borders — thusly allowing federally restricted access to bump stocks and high capacity magazines.
Proponents of the bill say that the need for protecting already enshrined rights under the Second Amendment are needed considering the current administration in Washington and a long history of attacks on the Second Amendment. Opponents of the bill stated that the bill could allow residents to legally manufacture unregulated guns or accessories using 3-D printers, including those which have been banned by federal mandates.
Simons said the bill would amend North Dakota Century Code, specifically areas relating to manufactured firearms, accessories and ammunition.
“... The truth is that in the Second Amendment you have the right to bear arms and the reason you have that right is to defend against foreign and domestic terrorists,” Simons said. “The reason you have the right to bear arms is to protect all the rest of your rights, including the right to make weapons. The constitution says, ‘shall not be infringed.’ So it is a God-given right for you to make a weapon.”
Simons said this bill is pertinent following Democratic President Joe Biden’s campaign, which heavily pushed for the cease of manufacturing and sale of assault rifles and accessories. However, North Dakota laws and regulations wouldn't be by the wayside under HB1272, he added.
“You can make anything you want except for things that are already illegal in North Dakota, like a fully automatic machine gun. So this can't break North Dakota laws, and is only not subjected to federal guidelines,” Simons remarked. “The commerce clause, which is very important, means you cannot cross state lines with the guns, accessories or ammunition... At that point it would be illegal. Eight other states have already done this, nine actually but it wasn't upheld. So this is very close to the gun freedom act that these other states have already administered.”
Across the nation, states have created sanctuary policies to exempt themselves from federal legislation in areas where state legislators feel the federal government has overstepped its purview, such as Colorado and Washington, which announced that they wouldn’t enforce federal drug laws relating to marijuana. Other examples include California, who stated that they will not enforce certain federal immigration mandates within their state. Should the Senate move forward with this bill, Simons noted that it would make North Dakota a "Second Amendment sanctuary state."
“This administration in Washington is coming after your guns folks. It truly is. We have to stand up and stand strong. Call your legislators and tell them to vote yes on HB1272,” Simons added.
The bill is now on its way to the Senate where it is expected to garner much deliberation and debate as more left-leaning legislators "tote party lines," with Simons noting that there will be “some resistance.”
“... Our founding fathers had courage to stand up against the greatest empire of the known world and we need to do the same in today's assembly because so many legislators are scared to stand up against the federal government. It is our job, we are literally the sheriff's of the federal government. I took an oath and swore to uphold this constitution and by God, that is what I'm going to do,” Simons said, adding, “Our federal government cannot break the constitution, they are not exempt. In fact, they are chained by it. Only if we as a state keep them in chains… which we refuse to do it seems these days."