Former Governor Ed Schafer is highly respected in politics and by the state he once served in. Though its been nearly two decades since he was the state’s chief executive, he still has influence. And yesterday he tried to exert that influence in an interview with KFGO’s "News & Views" as he publicly urged current governor, Doug Burgum, to veto the recently passed "Constitutional Carry" bill.
If by some long shot you haven’t heard, on Tuesday the North Dakota Senate passed House Bill 1169 – otherwise known as Constitutional Carry – by a wide margin of 34 – 13. The bill previously passed in the House by an even more impressive margin of 83 – 9. That means all that is left remaining is for the governor to sign the bill in order for it to become law.
As an advocate of limited government and gun rights, I find Schafer’s comments regarding Constitutional Carry very troubling. With all due respect, they’re not logical. He said:
"I urge [Governor Burgum] to veto that bill. I think it’s a mistake. We’re going back to the Old West, high noon; let’s all carry a gun. If we get into an argument… I’m going to start shooting at ’em."
Had these comments come from liberal television host Ed Schultz, it would have been expected. But to hear them come from Ed Schafer is extremely disappointing. The idea that "all" are going to carry a gun is simply not based on reality. Nor is it a reality that people are suddenly going to begin settling arguments at high noon in some street somewhere.
Aside from how illogical Schafer’s comments were, it simply makes no sense to veto the bill. Any sensible person knows and understands that restrictive gun laws do not stop criminals. Criminals don’t follow laws. They break them. That’s what makes them criminals. Who follows the law? Law-abiding citizens… you know, the same people that Ed Schafer wants to prevent from carrying concealed without a permission slip (i.e. permit) from the government.
As it stands now, law-abiding citizens can already carry in North Dakota without a permit. They just have to open carry from one hour before sunrise to one hour after sunset. But cover that same gun under the current statute and they become a criminal for concealed carry without a permit. It’s senseless.
Once the bill hits the governor’s desk, he has three days to sign it. If he refuses to sign, it becomes law after the third day anyhow. If he vetoes it, then the legislature can override his veto with a 2/3 majority vote, which is a benchmark that was exceeded in both chambers when it was voted on the first time.
There is absolutely nothing to be gained by Burgum vetoing this bill. Hopefully he’ll do the right thing and reject Schafer instead of the legislation.