Concealed Weapons In North Dakota
Taking A Look Inside A Nationally Debated Topic
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The North Dakota House has recently passed a bill that would allow school teachers and staff with to carry a concealed weapon in schools. It is now headed to the Senate. Gun control and conceal and carry are topics debated across the nation.
We explore the idea in North Dakota.
Tyler Lewin wakes up every morning to his wife and son. He gets ready to leave for his job at Microsoft. Before he leaves, he grabs his gun.
“I have an option to defend our family if needed,” Lewin says.
He’s had his concealed carry permit for just over a year.
“I decided to get it for personal protection and to be able to make sure that my family is safe and that’s about the time that I had my first kid,” says Lewin.
Tom Hanson feels the same way. He’s the general manager of the Red River Regional Marksmanship Center in West Fargo.
“It’s better to have a gun and not need one than to need a gun and not have one,” Hanson says.
As of February of last year, there were nearly 40,000 concealed carry licenses in North Dakota.
“We’ve seen an increase in the amount of people who carry within the last several years,” says Lt. Joel Vettel of Fargo Police.
Craig Roe teaches the required class for everyone who wants a concealed carry permit.
“You want to be able to hit what you’re aiming at, whether it’s a target or you’re in a defensive situation on an attacker of some sort and you’ll actually have to use your firearm, hopefully never,” explains Roe to his students.
At least 500 people have entered his classroom and left able to carry a firearm.
“I don’t really know anybody in the classes I’ve had that I would think they’re not responsible enough to have this,” Roe explains.
In order to obtain a permit, Craig’s students must take his class and go through an extensive background check. People who have their permit say taking the gun out of its holster is a last resort.
“The last thing you will ever do is pull your firearm out. First thing you do is run away,” Hanson says.
“Nobody ever wants to actually use it. It’s something that is there in case it’s down to your family or an innocent third party,” says Lewin.
And safety is a number one priority.
“I always have my gun in the gun safe. It’s always locked and it has a fast access key code in it,” Lewin continued.
But for some, concealed carry is troubling.
“It could be for their safety for what they feel is going to benefit them but I don’t feel safe because I don’t know them. I don’t know what they’re capable of,” says Hannah Stibbe of Fargo.
But for many in our region, it’s just another part of their daily routine in hopes that it could possibly save them or someone around them, much like it did this past December when a man put a stop to a robbery.
“A passerby, who happened to have a concealed weapon and had a license to carry that concealed weapon, intervened and stopped the assault from happening and ultimately was able to stop somebody from being further hurt,” says Vettel.
“The use of deadly force is something I hope I never have to do. But if it comes down to my family, you know, I’m probably glad that I have that option,” Lewin expresses.
And that’s what carrying is all about for Tyler, to look out for his family by preparing for the worst and hoping for the best.
The West Fargo gun range holds concealed carry classes and open shooting. To find out more, visit their website at rrrmc.com.