North Dakota Sen. Cramer introduces bill to allow interstate handgun sales

Gun Rights

WASHINGTON — U.S. Sen. Kevin Cramer introduced a bill Wednesday, July 10, that would remove certain federal regulations on interstate firearm sales.

Coined as the Firearms Interstate Commerce Reform Act, the

bill

seeks to allow licensed gun importers, manufacturers, dealers and collectors to sell or deliver any firearm across state lines — including handguns. Licensed dealers would be able to sell firearms at gun shows and conduct other transactions in states where they are not licensed.

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Residency requirements for the armed forces would also expand. States from which an active member commutes to permanent duty stations would count as a valid place of residence — in addition to states where a member is actively stationed and or maintains legal residence, which is how residency is currently defined.

“The Second Amendment rights of law-abiding citizens should not dissipate at state lines,” Cramer, R-N.D., said in a Wednesday release.

“For decades, outdated regulations have placed unnecessary burdens on our nation’s federal firearm purchasing laws,” he said. “The Firearms Interstate Commerce Reform Act fortifies Second Amendment liberties by ensuring citizens can purchase and bear arms nationwide. It also enhances lawful commerce and supports our military members and their families, all while respecting states’ laws and regulations.”

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U.S. House majority leader Steve Scalise, R-La., introduced a companion bill in the House in May.

“Our federal firearm purchasing process is unnecessarily complicated and is unfair for law-abiding citizens, small businesses, and our service members willing to put their lives on the line for our country,” Scalise said in the release. “The need to modernize and simplify our federal firearm purchasing laws is long overdue and I’m pleased this bill will finally right this wrong.”

The bill was co-sponsored by 17 Republican senators and endorsed by the National Rifle Association and National Shooting Sports Foundation.

According to an arms dealer in Grand Forks, the proposed legislation would not necessarily lead to sweeping operational changes aside from the ability to sell handguns to out-of-state residents.

“The handgun is the biggest thing,” said Travis Chiasson, co-owner of Brothers Firearm Shop. “That is the absolute largest thing, … allowing an out-of-state person to purchase a handgun.”

Federal legislation restricts dealers from selling or delivering handguns to individuals who do not reside in the state where a licensee’s business is located.

Chiasson said scenarios where service members look to purchase handguns in bordering states are uncommon in Grand Forks. He also said the bill would ultimately have more significant impacts on states with more restrictive gun laws than North Dakota.

“For example, California residents could go to Nevada and buy whatever they want and bring it back, and it would technically be on the purchaser to register in California, which they probably wouldn’t. So, that would definitely cause some issues. But for the Midwest, this doesn’t really change anything,” he said.

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“I think if we focused more on enforcing the current laws, we would see change quicker than trying to change the way that they are,” Chiasson said.

Peyton Haug joined The Forum as the Bismarck correspondent in June 2024. She interned with the Duluth News Tribune as a reporting intern in 2022 while earning bachelor’s degrees in journalism and geography at the University of Minnesota Duluth. Reach Peyton at phaug@forumcomm.com.

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