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New state law: No permit required to carry a concealed handgun

Currently in North Dakota, it is considered a misdemeanor to carry a hidden firearm without a permit. Thanks to recently-passed legislation, however, individuals will soon be able to carry a handgun without a concealed-carry permit.

Our state has become the latest to adopt what proponents of gun rights refer to as "constitutional carry." This new gun law, signed by Governor Doug Burgum on March 23, will allow North Dakotans who are 18 years or older to "carry hidden firearms without having to undergo background checks or training — as long as they're law-abiding citizens."

Under currently-active laws, those who carry a firearm without proper permits face misdemeanor charges. These charges can result in several consequences with a conviction, with a maximum penalty of 30 days in jail and a $1,500 fine.

If you have a valid North Dakota driver's license or state ID and are eligible for a Class 2 firearm license, you may carry a concealed handgun beginning August 1, 2017. The new law still designates certain places, such as schools and public buildings, as off-limits for weapons. Additionally, individuals may only carry handguns without a permit within North Dakota borders and when they come in contact with police officers, they must inform the officer of the possession. Individuals convicted of a felonies or violent crimes are ineligible to carry a firearm under this law.

Most likely, this new law will have an impact on the number of misdemeanor weapons charges in the state, depending on the definition of "law-abiding citizen." The number of permit applications may also drop, although officials still encourage gun safety courses.

Other states with similar "constitutional carry" laws include Idaho, Mississippi, New Hampshire and West Virginia. Legislation was also proposed in South Dakota, but was vetoed by the governor.

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