Expanding gun rights days after mass shootings

Published: Mar. 24, 2021 at 5:02 PM CDT
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BISMARCK, N.D. (KFYR) - Days after the mass shooting in Colorado and President Joe Biden’s call for a ban on assault weapons, North Dakota lawmakers brought up bills that attempt to side-step federal regulations.

The fight in the legislature is one thing. But if it passes, it could put North Dakota on a long road through federal courts.

Under HB 1272, firearms made entirely within North Dakota’s borders would be exempt from federal regulations.

It’s another element of some lawmaker’s attempts to expand gun rights and gun ownership.

However, lawmakers say it is bigger than guns. It is about state freedoms.

With the Biden Administration calling for a ban on certain weapons following another mass shooting, North Dakota lawmakers are getting defensive.

Not just with the second amendment, but also with the tenth.

“The Supreme Court has interpreted interstate commerce very broadly, but in my opinion, way too broadly. And I would like states to start to take back some of the 10th Amendment rights that the Constitution provides,” Sen. Michael Dwyer, R-Bismarck, said.

In an attempt to go around federal law, lawmakers are considering a “Homemade Gun” bill.

While federal law allows individuals to manufacture some forms of homemade guns, opposers say interstate commerce will be necessary in order to put the pieces together in North Dakota.

“North Dakota, thank God, is blessed with a lot of natural resources, but we’re not blessed with all the natural resources it’s gonna take to manufacture these types of things. And so, that kind of how interstate commerce becomes involved,” Attorney David Schweigert said.

The bill also requires that the firearms and ammo be used only in North Dakota.

The bill’s primary sponsor said it’s incredibly unlikely that a gun manufacturer will come to North Dakota, so the bill would focus specifically on 3D-printed firearms.

If the bill passes, North Dakota could find itself butting heads with the Supremacy Clause of the U.S. Constitution, which says federal law overrules state law.

This could spark a lengthy legal battle through federal courts if the law is challenged.

For some lawmakers, that push back is their goal.

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