NATIONAL NEWS

A judge has dismissed Fargo’s challenge to North Dakota restrictions on local gun control

Feb 23, 2024, 9:22 AM

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — A judge has dismissed a lawsuit filed by North Dakota’s largest city that challenged a new law banning zoning ordinances related to guns and ammunition.

Fargo sued last year, calling the law unconstitutional and a swipe at the city’s home rule powers. State District Judge Cherie Clark on Tuesday granted the state’s motion for summary judgment and dismissed the city’s complaint.

“While the Court agrees that (the North Dakota Constitution) intends for ‘maximum local self-government,’ the law is not settled that this language alone provides home rule cities the right to legislate on topics the state legislature has limited,” the judge wrote.

But she also expressed concerns about the Legislature’s actions: “If the legislature continues to pare home rule powers, home rule cities lack the discretion to address important issues impacting their respective and unique communities.”

Fargo has an ordinance banning people from conducting certain businesses out of their homes, including gun and ammunition sales, mortuaries, dog grooming and vehicle repair.

Last year, the Republican-led Legislature passed the law restricting the ability of cities and counties to regulate guns and ammunition, including purchase, sales and possession. The law took effect in August. It voids existing ordinances.

Previously, Fargo successfully challenged a similar 2021 law.

Mayor Tim Mahoney said city officials will meet with their legal team on next steps.

“The previous time that we challenged it, it did it come back in our favor, so that’s what we’re going to have to see — what’s changed and do we need to take a different position on it,” he said.

In its lawsuit, the city said it doesn’t want residents to use their homes as gun stores but added that the case hits at a larger issue of whether the Legislature can “strip away” Fargo’s home rule powers, which allow the city certain authority, such as zoning public and private property.

Republican Rep. Ben Koppelman, the 2023 bill’s sponsor, told a Senate panel last year that the issue came to greater attention in 2016 when, because of the ordinance, the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives refused to renew the federal firearms licenses of Fargo dealers who sold out of their homes. At issue in the bill was whether gun regulations should be a locally or state-controlled issue, he previously said.

Koppelman did not immediately respond to a text message for comment on the lawsuit’s dismissal.

National News

FILE - A woman fills out a pledge card for the U.S. Census in exchange for a reusable boba tea cart...

Associated Press

Noncitizens are less likely to participate in a census with citizenship question, study says

Adding a citizenship question to the census reduces the participation of people who aren’t U.S. citizens, particularly those from Latin American countries, according to a new research paper that comes as Republicans in Congress are pushing to add such a question to the census form. Noncitizens who pay taxes but are ineligible to have a […]

2 hours ago

FILE - State Election Board member Rick Jeffares asks the crowd to settle down during a hastily pla...

Associated Press

Trump-friendly panel shapes Georgia’s election rules at long, often chaotic meetings

ATLANTA (AP) — The Georgia State Election Board, which once toiled in relative obscurity, now hosts raucous meetings where public comment spans several hours and attendees regularly heckle its members. The shift highlights how election administration has become increasingly scrutinized and politicized, particularly in Georgia and other states that President Joe Biden flipped for Democrats […]

2 hours ago

FILE - This June 13, 2016 photo shows Drug Enforcement Administration agents in Florida. Thousands ...

Associated Press

Takeaways from AP’s investigation into DEA corruption, agent accused of rape

MIAMI (AP) — Thousands of secret law enforcement documents obtained by The Associated Press offer a never-before-seen window into a culture of corruption among U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration agents who parlayed the agency’s shadowy money laundering operations into a worldwide pursuit of binge drinking and illicit sex. Among the documents is a recovered WhatsApp chat, […]

2 hours ago

FILE - Reggie Daniels pays his respects a memorial at Robb Elementary School, June 9, 2022, in Uval...

Associated Press

Uvalde school officer charged over actions during Robb Elementary shooting set to appear in court

UVALDE, Texas (AP) — A former Uvalde school police officer who was part of the slow law enforcement response to the 2022 mass shooting at Robb Elementary School is scheduled to appear in court for the first time Thursday. Adrian Gonzales was one of the nearly 400 law enforcement personnel who responded to the scene […]

3 hours ago

This October 2014 photo obtained by The Associated Press shows then-U.S. Drug Enforcement Administr...

Associated Press

Secret DEA files show agents joked about rape in WhatsApp chat. Then one of them was accused of it.

MIAMI (AP) — In a WhatsApp chat that quickly devolved into depravity, a group of U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration agents boasted about their “world debauchery tour” of “boozing and whoring” on the government’s dime. They swapped lurid images of their latest sexual conquests. And at one point they even joked about “forcible anal rape.” Within […]

3 hours ago

Joe Ridenour sits for a portrait on the steps of the recreational vehicle he once called home in Ca...

Associated Press

Church sues Colorado town to be able to shelter homeless in trailers, work ‘mandated by God’

CASTLE ROCK, Colo. (AP) — Behind a church surrounded by rolling prairie on the outskirts of this Colorado town sits a donated RV that Joe Ridenour called home for a year after he lost his job during the pandemic. Being able to live in the RV, he said, allowed him to avoid returning to his […]

3 hours ago

A judge has dismissed Fargo’s challenge to North Dakota restrictions on local gun control