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North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum speaks during the 2018 State of Technology in November in Fargo. On Thursday, July 25, 2019, Burgum announced a technology retraining initiative called Emerging Digital Academy at the TEDxFargo event. Forum File Photo

Burgum says 'red flag' legislation is 'worth considering'

BISMARCK — North Dakota Republican Gov. Doug Burgum signaled some conditional support for so-called "red flag" legislation to curb gun violence Tuesday, Aug. 6, after two mass shootings over the weekend.

The Republican-controlled state House earlier this year easily rejected legislation allowing judges to issue protection orders temporarily preventing people deemed dangerous from possessing guns. Critics said it infringed on constitutional rights, which proponents disputed.

In a statement, Burgum suggested the idea has some merit.

"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," he said.

A Burgum spokesman said the statement wasn't meant to suggest he would have signed this year's bill had it reached his desk. The spokesman wasn't sure whether Burgum would advocate for such legislation when lawmakers reconvene in 2021.

Fargo Democratic Rep. Karla Rose Hanson, the primary sponsor of this year's bill, said Monday she wasn't sure if she'd reintroduce the bill next session.

President Donald Trump reiterated support for red flag legislation after mass shootings in Texas and Ohio in recent days.

John Hageman

John Hageman covers North Dakota politics from the Forum News Service bureau in Bismarck. He attended the University of Minnesota in the Twin Cities, where he studied journalism and political science, and he previously worked at the Grand Forks Herald and Bemidji Pioneer.  

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