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Can North Dakota Teachers Bring Guns To School? PDF Print E-mail
Written by Chet   
Thursday, 20 December 2012 14:06

TeachersWithGunsDid you read the story about the Minneapolis teacher who was suspended for bringing a loaded gun to school?  Well that probably could not happen in North Dakota because teachers may have a right to bring their loaded weapons to school.

We wrote about this proposed legislation as the bill was working its way through the North Dakota legislature. (Click here to read about the state legislature's land grab.)

Here's what the law -- yes, it is a law now -- says:

A public or private employer may not... terminate the employment of or otherwise discriminate against an employee, or expel a customer or invitee for exercising the constitutional right to keep and bear arms or for exercising the right of self-defense as long as a firearm is never exhibited on company property for any reason other than lawful defensive purposes.

NDCC § 62.1-02-13(1)(e)

If you take this North Dakota law to its illogical conclusion, students -- assuming they are "invitees" -- might be able to bring weapons to school, too, if they plan to use them for "lawful defensive purposes." 

Makes perfect sense, right?

Well, there may be some confusion in the law.  First, this statute is horribly written.  I'd like someone to explain to me how a firearm can be "exhibited on company property" when there is no "company."  For example, let's say it's a sole proprietor that owns the business property; what then?  There's no "company."  What if it's public property? Is that "company property"?

But also, we have a law that says you can't possess a gun at a "public gathering" and "schools or school functions" are considered to be "public gatherings."  (NDCC § 62.1-02-05)  I don't pretend to know for sure how these two conflicting laws would interact. A general rule of statutory interpretation says that a more particular provisions govern more general provisions. I have an opinion as to which of these two provisions is "particular" and which is "general," but I don't wear a black robe so I can't tell you for sure which is which.

So I guess what I'm saying is that I'm not sure if you can sit back and relax during the next volleyball game.  The crazy, angry guy sitting next to you at the game probably doesn't know how to interpret these conflicting statutes either.

I wouldn't worry about him though. He probably has horrible aim.


Comments (19)add comment

What the Heck said:

...
smilies/sad.gif I couldn't imagine a scenario in which a child at school could ever feel they were threatened or needed to defend themselves. Oops, I almost forgot. Bullying is good for kids.

Just proves that all you need to be a legislator is assclown ideas and a heartbeat.
 
December 20, 2012
Votes: +0

big jake said:

...
What % of ND legislators are lawyers? Just how in the hell can such a poorly crafted law get passed? Is everyone up there asleep at the wheel?

What happened to checks and balances? Where in the hell was the Gov. on this one? Is our whole country losing its mind? Has Rush helped put something in the water? I just shake my head and scream, "beam me up Scotty, there is no intelligent life here!"
I still do not know if ND was always this nuts, always driven by bible thumpers, real or fake, have displaced reason and logic for emotions and we look like we have migrated here from Alabama. Please advise.
 
December 20, 2012
Votes: +2

Big Running said:

...
Irregardless of the intent or absurdity of ths crafted legislation at hand, I think someone in every school should have a weapon or weapons. I'm being totally serious. Why shouldn't the second amendment apply to teachers at work?

We have to quit worrying about guns and start worrying about the behavior.
 
December 20, 2012
Votes: +1

What the Heck said:

Seriously?
Big Running, do you really think educators want to carry guns? You think they want the added responsibility and liability? If society is going down this road then metal detectors, body scans and paid security guards is a better solution. If you ever spent time in a peds ward and saw an 8 year old in a wheel chair because another little kid shot her at daycare, you would realize that kids should not be around guns. That's all we need are teachers and personnel with guns who need to worry about the security of those weapons. The little girl who will never walk again was shot accidentally when another little kid found a loaded gun under the bed. Sorry if I am on a rant.
 
December 20, 2012
Votes: -1

You need to read the whole law said:

...
Chet, I agree with you about 99% of the time (too many examples to mention), but in your citation of the century code, the first subsection clearly states that a weapon must be locked inside the weapon owner's private vehicle at all times while on the private property of his or her employer or while patronizing a place of business (invitees). Second, there are clear exceptions stated in the law. Number one on the list references all schools and school properties. The law does not allow a person to take a weapon onto school property, and therefore it does NOT allow the guy next to you at the volleyball game to pack, nor a teacher to bring a weapon, loaded or not, to school.
Second, the inclusion of the word company is indeed confusing, since it is listed nowhere else in the law, but was probably included because the attorney who drafted the law wanted to include employers and places of business that invite customers. If a business is a sole proprietorship, there are no other employees and hence, no conflict with this law.
As for public property, the law clearly allows for exemptions when its conflicts with federal law. This includes post offices, airports, military bases, etc. The law does allow someone who works for a municipality or other public entity (except schools, universities, and prisons/jails among others) to keep a weapon locked and out of sight in his or her own private vehicle. In other words, they can't take... it out, while at work.
Thanks for the conversation.
 
December 21, 2012
Votes: +0

Chet 2 said:

Respectfully...
I have to disagree on a few things. First, it seems as though you are saying subsection "a" and subsection "e" have to be read together. I don't think that is a valid assertion for a variety of reasons, but I'll just give one: If that's true, then subsection "a" and subsection "c" would also have to be read together, and I think it's pretty clear that would result in nonsense. This is not an "and" "and" "and" statute. It is an "or" statute. On its face, each subsection appears to stand on its own.

I'd be interested in hearing what makes you think they need to be read together.

Second, when you have a business that is a sole proprietorship, that just means one person owns it alone. There could be dozens or hundreds of employees working for a sole proprietorship. So your point about there only being one employee at a sole proprietorship isn't quite right. (Translation: you're wrong about this.)

An argument could be made that the statute addressing possession of a firearm at a public gathering (NDCC § 62.1-02-05) is a general statute that applies to everyone, generally. Similarly, an argument could be made that the statute relating to employees, invitees, etc., possessing firearms at their workplace is a specific statute that does not apply generally to the general public. As a matter of statutory construction, an argument could be made that the specific provision is superior to the general provision. That's why I mentioned it.

Let me be clear: I'm not saying I buy any of these arguments. I'm just saying that the law is a horribly drafted law (almost certainly drafted by some moran lobbyist for the National Rifle (Manufacturers) Association, it is vague, arguments can be made on both sides, and that it invites trouble.

And in this case, trouble might mean dead bodies. And I'm against that.
 
December 21, 2012
Votes: +0

Respectfully as well said:

...
First, I'll state that I am against dead bodies as well, but I don't think this law promotes that ugly scenario.

Why can't subsection "a" and "c" be read together? They all refer to this statute as a condition of employment. One references an existing employee, while the other references a prospective employee and what can be demanded of her or him by an employer as a condition of employment. It is indeed a "and" "and" "and" statute. They all are listed under the heading "Possession of secured firearm - Prohibition by employer prohibited." You could list them all in one paragraph, I suppose, but you would have one long run-on sentence. (Translation: I think you're wrong about this, but I'm not an attorney)

True, a sole proprietorship may have several employees, but it doesn't make any difference in the interpretation of this law, because it's still considered a company (at least in the vernacular, if not for tax purposes), and the individual is still an employer. My wife is a sole proprietor of a business and has several employees, but she is still considered to operate a company.

The public gathering statute and the employer/place of business statute both apply to the general public, since nearly everyone can be a patron of a business. Yes, I know there exceptions for people in jail, nursing homes, people with disabilities, and so on, but the likelihood of those individuals attending a public gathering are about the same as going shopping.

Your original point was that teachers may be able to carry at school, which is clearly prohibited under all sections of this law.
 
December 21, 2012
Votes: +0

Respectfully as well said:

...
First, I'll state that I am against dead bodies as well, but I don't think this law promotes that ugly scenario.

Why can't subsection "a" and "c" be read together? They all refer to this statute as a condition of employment. One references an existing employee, while the other references a prospective employee and what can be demanded of her or him by an employer as a condition of employment. It is indeed a "and" "and" "and" statute. They all are listed under the heading "Possession of secured firearm - Prohibition by employer prohibited." You could list them all in one paragraph, I suppose, but you would have one long run-on sentence. (Translation: I think you're wrong about this, but I'm not an attorney)

True, a sole proprietorship may have several employees, but it doesn't make any difference in the interpretation of this law, because it's still considered a company (at least in the vernacular, if not for tax purposes), and the individual is still an employer. My wife is a sole proprietor of a business and has several employees, but she is still considered to operate a company.

The public gathering statute and the employer/place of business statute both apply to the general public, since nearly everyone can be a patron of a business. Yes, I know there exceptions for people in jail, nursing homes, people with disabilities, and so on, but the likelihood of those individuals attending a public gathering are about the same as going shopping.

Your original point was that teachers may be able to carry at school, which is clearly prohibited under all sections of this law.
 
December 21, 2012
Votes: +0

Jason said:

...
I believe that if a teacher wishes he/she should be able to carry a gun in school...but I also think that said teacher should have to register it with the school so they know he/she has it. I don't think anyone is saying that teachers MUST carry a weapon. I do however think several would do so if given the opportunity. Maybe send them to a class on how to use a weapon properly.

I also think that we should have armed guards at schools if requested. What good does a security officer do at a school if he/she cannot carry a weapon to protect the students in the school.
 
December 21, 2012
Votes: +1

What the Heck said:

...
Guns have no place around children. Period. Too many accidental shootings. I grew up around guns, and fortunately nothing bad happened, although there were a few close calls. Like a family member cleaning a gun in the house they forgot was loaded. Discharged and shot a hole in the wall. Three other accidental discharges I can recall with family, friends, and hunters. Near misses, thank God.

If responsible adults want to carry guns with lawful permits and reasonable restrictions (no automatic weapons or assault weapons), then have at it. Just keep them away from kids in case the unthinkable happens.
 
December 21, 2012
Votes: -1

Jason said:

...
So you're saying not to protect our kids from people that do have weapons? A .22 rifle is a semi automatic gun. It's not an assult rifle...and can kill people just as easily. But we won't worry about those...we'll make sure that the people around our kids can't protect them.

At least that's what 'What the Heck' would like to see.
 
December 21, 2012
Votes: +1

nimrodent said:

...
I had some teachers who, in retrospect, I would judge to be too unstable or sociopathic to entrust with possessing a firearm at school. Screen that, Batman.
 
December 21, 2012
Votes: +0

What the Heck said:

Exactly, Nimrodent.
None of us can predict who will suddenly 'snap'. Even teachers and school employees can be victims of mental illness.

I am not against protecting kids, that is ridiculous. Where guns are, accidents will happen. Having guns in a school environment is not a solution.
 
December 21, 2012
Votes: +0

Jason said:

...
Right. So again you are saying don't protect them. Because as long as there is any gun, semi-automatic down to a .22 rifle, someone can get into a school and kill kids. how are you going to protect them unless someone can stop them. And how are you going to stop someone with a gun if you don't have one?
 
December 21, 2012
Votes: +1

What the Heck said:

Let's just agree to disagree
Jason, I said the solution was not to expect teachers and school personnel to carry guns IN school I didn't say there isn't another avenue to provide protection. Armed guards, maybe. Average Joe Citizen, no.

BTW, I come from a family with a robust teaching background. Not a single one of them is in favor of being armed at school.
 
December 21, 2012
Votes: -1

big jake said:

...
Once again, we have the cart before the horse. The needed debate around the gun issue should take place after we discuss a host of important issues.

The obvious mental illness that has been a part of every one of these tragedies has been marginalized. Some bright spots have appeared with this latest horrific event. We simply do not know enough to rush to any conclusions. We know nothing about this kid's history. Nothing about his family. Nothing about his medication history. If we do nothing in these areas, we can expect more of the same. If we as a society refuse to dig into our mental healthcare system, why would one think that dealing with the symptoms will cure anything.
Firearms are a sensitive, difficult and divisive issue. However, it would be unthinkable to disarm our nation. The Founder's knew this well. Absent arms, no Revolution would have taken place. The King would have had all the weapons. That is the bottom line. However totally nuts the NRA has become, eternal vigilance is essential to protect our basic liberties. The slippery slope is all to obvious. As a hunter/outdoor enthusiast, a conservationist, I find it difficult to grasp the concept of a .44 Magnum or a AK-47 replica as a hunting weapon. I cannot conceive of the necessity of a fully automatic weapon's usefullness in any sporting activity. However, my 1100 Remington shotgun has been a part of my hunting since highschool, I find it unthinkable to prohibit its use. I find the need for a 30 round clip ridiculous as to any possible hunting use. However, I am keenly aware of those, mostly city dwellers, who would ban any weapon and the slippery slope is a dangerous path. Somewhere, we must be able to bridge this gap. It is a diffucult task. I would start with mental health and the abuse of our system by those who create the most violent games for our children to spend hours using. I wonder just where are the parents of these kids who are inoculated into accepting the blood and gore as a normal part of life.
 
December 22, 2012
Votes: +0

random said:

...
My solution would be to study other wealthy industrialized nations and look at their rate of gun deaths. Then I would pick the ones with the lowest rates of gun deaths(all of them are much lower) and apply that to the U.S.

And for the "blame violent video games and movies" crowd. They play and watch those in every other wealthy nation in the world. Not that I'm condoning them, but why aren't their gun deaths as high as ours if they're the problem?
 
December 22, 2012
Votes: +0

nimrodent said:

WTF?
According to Maureen Dowd, the son of the President of the NRA is in prison for shooting at another driver in a road-rage incident. Paragons of responsible gun ownership, my ass.
 
December 23, 2012
Votes: +0

What the Heck said:

...
According to Lapierre, NRA President, the problem is our violent culture and the criminals, not guns. Too bad we have no way of knowing who is going to become a violent criminal until AFTER they have gotten a gun. I bet his son never committed any criminal acts prior to shooting at someone. Must have been an irresponsible parent who let his son watch too many violent movies and played too many video games.
 
December 23, 2012
Votes: -1

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