MINOT, N.D. — As part of the preparations for an expected Black Lives Matter protest on Friday, June 19, Fargo Mayor Tim Mahoney has signed an order that, among other things, prohibits the carrying of weapons.
Among the justifications for the order is this passage in which the city claims to be aware of plans for some protesters to carry weapons:
Based on that justification, among others, Mahoney's order goes on to describe a series of measures and restrictions which could be in place, including a ban on "carrying or possession" of weapons in specific areas.
City officials will also be able to, among other things, evacuate certain areas, put a curfew in place, and restrict the operation of businesses.
It's the weapons order that may give the City of Fargo some problems.
The order lists weapons, and that list doesn't include firearms, but the order also suggests that the prohibition isn't limited to the listed weapons.
Firearms are, without question, weapons, and in North Dakota, public officials do not have the authority to prohibit their lawful possession or carry. Even, precisely, in times of emergency.
Here's section 37-17.1-29 of the North Dakota Century Code which was created by the Legislature to expressly prohibit exactly what Mahoney is trying to do:
The statute goes on to say that an "individual aggrieved by a violation of this section may commence a civil action against any person who subjects the individual, or causes the individual to be subjected, to an action prohibited by this section."
The mayor's order may be creating some severe legal liability for the City of Fargo, depending on how it's enforced. Whatever your politics, the Black Lives Matter protesters have the same rights as the rest of us, up to and including the Second Amendment.
Frankly, the entire order seems a bit heavy-handed, especially for someone who has been going out of his way to talk about how peaceful the Black Lives Matter demonstrations have been.
We know, from what we can see outside the smog of woke politics, that often these protests have not been peaceful. We know that elements in the ranks of the protesters have used violence, and continue to advocate for violence. The City of Fargo must put in place policies to balance the rights of political protesters with public safety.
But part of the proper response to the Black Lives Matter movement should be dignified and respectful treatment.
Mahoney's order makes it seem like the enemy is at the gates, and even beyond the legally dubious restrictions on weapons, and that's about as helpful as Fargo Police Chief David Todd calling the protesters "thugs" in internal department communications.
Don't get me wrong, the violent protesters are thugs, but the chief of police needs to be a big more cognizant of the situation he's operating in, and conduct his professional business accordingly.
Here's the full order:
To comment on this article, visit www.sayanythingblog.com
Rob Port, founder of SayAnythingBlog.com, is a Forum Communications commentator. Reach him on Twitter at @robport or via email at email@example.com.