North Dakota Century Code section 62.1-01-03 states:
“A political subdivision, including home rule cities or counties, may not enact any ordinance relating to the purchase, sale, ownership, possession, transfer of ownership, registration, or licensure of firearms and ammunition which is more restrictive than state law. All such existing ordinances are void. A political subdivision, including home rule cities or counties, may not enact a zoning ordinance relating to the purchase, sale, ownership, possession, transfer of ownership, registration, or licensure of firearms and ammunition. All such existing ordinances are void.”
Legislation adopted in 2021 authorizes people aggrieved by a violation of this preemption law to bring a civil action against a local government for damages suffered as a result of an unlawful gun safety ordinance.1
North Dakota law also prohibits a state agency, political subdivision, or any law enforcement agency from conducting a firearm buyback program or participating in the implementation, administration, or operation of a firearm buyback program.2
As of the date this page was last updated, Giffords Law Center is not aware of any significant case law interpreting North Dakota’s preemption statute.
Other Statutory Provisions
North Dakota adopted legislation in 2021 to prohibit local governments from implementing an executive order issued by the US President that “relates to the regulation of the constitutional right to keep and bear arms” if the state Attorney General issues an opinion that the executive order restricts a person’s rights or has been found unconstitutional by a court of competent jurisdiction.3
North Dakota also adopted a new law in 2021 that seeks to generally prohibit local governments, state agencies, law enforcement officers, or individuals employed by a state agency or local government from providing “assistance to a federal agency or official or act[ing] independently with respect to the investigation, prosecution, or enforcement of a violation” of a federal law, order, rule, or regulation enacted after January 1, 2021 that regulates firearms, firearm accessories, or ammunition if that federal law is more restrictive than North Dakota law. This new North Dakota law provides certain exceptions, such as if a court finds probable cause that a national security threat exists, for prosecution of certain offenses that are also unlawful under North Dakota law, and cases where local governments or officials provide assistance to a federal agency or official for an offense not related to firearms or an offense to which firearms are “incidental, including a drug offense, homicide, assault, kidnapping, sex offense, or human trafficking.”4
North Dakota adopted an additional preemption law in 20215 that generally restricts state agencies, local governments, and appointed officials or employees of state agencies or local governments, even in states of emergency, from closing or limiting the operating hours of shooting ranges or any entity engaged in the lawful sale or servicing of a firearm or ammunition (including any component or accessory of a firearm or ammunition), ammunition-reloading equipment or supplies, or of personal weapons other than firearms, “unless the closing or limitation of hours applies equally to all forms of commerce, use, recreation, enjoyment, or general activities within the jurisdiction.”6 This law also restricts these local and state law enforcement or other public officials and employees from suspending or revoking a permit to carry a concealed pistol issued pursuant to state law, except as expressly authorized by state law, or from refusing to accept an application for a permit to carry a concealed pistol, provided the application has been completed properly in accordance with state law.7
Though state law generally prohibits possession of a firearm in a publicly-owned or operated buildings, the law explicitly provides an exception allowing a political subdivision to enact a less restrictive ordinance relating to the possession of firearms at a public gathering.8
Section 37-01-21 generally prohibits a municipality from raising or appropriating money toward arming, equipping, supporting, or providing drillrooms or armories for any body of people associating as a military company or parading in public with firearms, with some exceptions.9
Section 42-01-01.1 provides that a rule, resolution, or ordinance relating to noise control, noise pollution, or noise abatement adopted by the state or a political subdivision may not be applied to prohibit the operation of a sport shooting range, provided the conduct was lawful and being conducted before the adoption of the rule, resolution, or ordinance. However, a political subdivision may regulate the location and construction of a sport shooting range after August 1, 1999.10 Section 42-01-01.1 specifically states that it applies to a county or city enacting a home rule charter under chapter 11-09.1, 40-05.1, or 54-40.4, “notwithstanding any other provision of law.”
For state laws prohibiting local units of government (i.e., cities and counties) from filing certain types of lawsuits against shooting ranges and the gun industry, see our page on Immunity Statutes in North Dakota.
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- See 2021 ND HB 1248 (enacting N.D. Cent. Code § 62.1-01-03(2).
- N.D. Cent. Code § 62.1-01-04.
- See 2021 ND HB 1164 (enacting N.D. Cent. Code § 54-03-32(2).
- 2021 ND HB 1393 (creating N.D. Cent. Code § 62.1-01-03.1, effective April 23, 2021).
- See 2021 ND SB 2344.
- N.D. Cent. Code § 37-17.1-29(1)(a).
- N.D. Cent. Code § 37-17.1-29(1)(b) – (e).
- N.D. Cent. Code § 62.1-02-05.
- Exceptions include for escort duty at military burials, or for students in educational institutions where military science is taught.
- N.D. Cent. Code § 42-01-01.1.