President’s call for “Red Flag” law renews discussion in North Dakota

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BISMARCK, N.D. - President Trump has called for red flag laws, which allow law enforcement to take firearms from people if they're seen as a danger to themselves or others. North Dakota’s state legislature soundly rejected the idea in February. Will the idea come back next session?

The 53-page filing by Florida Carry argued not getting a solid yes or no within 24 hours has deprived people of their constitutional right to own a gun. (MGN)

Thirteen Democrats and four Republicans voted for the bill. During the hours of debate, in committee and on the floor, the bill seemed to have more support than that. Representative Karla Rose Hanson, D-Fargo, says she wants to build on the momentum from last session, assuming she’s re-elected.

Hanson got law enforcement and bipartisan support before introducing her red flag bill, but after hours of committee hearings and debate, the bill was resoundingly defeated.

"At the time it was really disappointing that the Red Flag bill didn't pass. It was certainly a missed opportunity to save lives in North Dakota while leveraging a strong due process,” said Hanson.

After two weekend mass shootings in Texas and Ohio, President Trump called for red-flag legislation as part of the solution, something gun shop owner Cody Schuh can't get behind.

"We've never really had a situation before where the government or judicial powers have taken rights away for a "pre-crime" without having conclusive evidence that there is a crime in fact going to take place,” said Schuh.

Hanson's bill would've allowed family or law enforcement to petition a court to remove guns from a person's possession if they were deemed a threat. Hanson says this becomes more important as more hate crimes take place.

"There's a trend toward white nationalism and so we have to ask ourselves why white nationalism feels more emboldened to act in this way in recent months,” said Hanson.

"If you see something say something. We need law enforcement to follow up on that too. I know they're extremely busy with all kinds of things through all kinds of departments. We've seen before and time and time again people have said something and nothing has been followed up on in a quick manner,” said Schuh.

The supreme court has never ruled specifically on whether red flag laws are constitutional. Hanson also wants to close background check loopholes. Schuh didn't say he was against it, but says it might be hard without violating HIPPA laws.

Gov. Doug Burgum, R-N.D., joined in the debate as well, saying:

“Gun ownership is both a right and a responsibility, and that responsibility begins with individuals and families. We must ensure that law-abiding citizens aren’t denied their Second Amendment right without due process first, but if family members or law enforcement believe an individual is suicidal or mentally ill and a danger to themselves or others, and a process can be established through the courts to keep that person safe after ensuring their right to due process, that’s worth considering.”