At the beginning of January, we broke the news that Rep. Luke Simons (R – District 36) was sponsoring legislation — House Bill 1381 — to prohibit taxpayer funded gun buyback programs. In case you’re not familiar with gun buyback programs, they’re used as something of an alternative to gun control in an effort to reduce the number of guns in society. Participants bring in guns and exchange them for cash, gifts (usually gift cards), or vouchers. The programs are typically conducted with the help of law enforcement and the guns are destroyed.
Despite some pushback during floor debate in the House, HB 1381 passed on a vote of 66-26 last month. Shortly after its passage, The Forum published criticism of the bill from two national gun control advocates. At the time, I wrote that considering the source, it was really a badge of honor. In a sense, such criticism helped confirm the need for such legislation. After all, if those who support such programs truly thought they’d never be carried out in North Dakota, then why would they care if they were prohibited by law?
After the Senate Energy & Natural Resources Committee heard testimony on HB 1381 just over two weeks ago, they pushed it out yesterday with a 4-2 Do Pass recommendation and put it on the calendar for a vote today. Senator Curt Kreun (R – District 42) carried the bill to the floor for debate and did an excellent job of defending it against opposition from Senators Kyle Davison (R – District 41) and Tim Mathern (D – District 11). In the end, common sense prevailed and HB 1381 passed on a vote of 33-12.
Utilizing taxpayer dollars for gun buyback programs is not a proper function of government. Besides that, they’ve been proven to be horribly ineffective in achieving their supposed objectives. The North Dakota House and Senate got it right by passing this bill. It will now go to Governor Doug Burgum for his signature. Let’s hope that he signs it.
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