Following FBI alerts, ND legislators prepare for possibility of violence at State Capitol
North Dakota lawmakers are working with state and local authorities
BISMARCK, N.D. — The North Dakota Capitol is one of many across the country preparing to respond to possible armed demonstrations.
“We know that just because we’re in North Dakota or Bismarck, North Dakota, doesn’t make us immune from potential acts of violence,” says House Minority Leader Josh Boschee of Fargo.
Boschee and Speaker of the House Kim Koppelman of West Fargo say the North Dakota Highway Patrol has provided regular briefings to caucus members and legislative leaders on how to prepare in case violence does erupt.
“I’m also very confident in the law enforcement we have, the people who protect us at the Capitol, and I think they’re well-prepared for any eventuality,” adds Koppelman.
“We’ll continue to be vigilant,” says Boschee. “Actually, this afternoon, some legislators are going through training with Highway Patrol on how to protect themselves if they feel they need to.”
Both representatives say they have trust in North Dakotans to do the right thing.
Koppelman says “outside groups” are the ones responsible for inciting violence at protests.
“If it were limited to the people in North Dakota, who people are anticipating could do something like that, I would say I’m not worried at all,” he explains. “There are these groups that come in and incite violence from all over the country.”
“All of us lawmakers are just thinking a little bit differently about our jobs now, which is unfortunate, because the worst thing that can come from this is that the public becomes limited in their interactions with their policymakers,” Boschee says.
With 10 weeks remaining in the legislative session, lawmakers anticipate their work will proceed as scheduled.
Moving forward, they say Democrats and Republicans must work together to put the good of North Dakotans first.
The North Dakota National Guard has not been activated.