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North Dakota governor approves concealed guns without a permit

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North Dakotans will no longer need a permit to carry a concealed weapon after Republican Governor Doug Burgum signed legislation lifting restrictions, a victory for gun rights advocates that came a week after South Dakota’s governor vetoed a similar bill.

The law, which takes effect on Aug. 1, mandates that gun owners only need a North Dakota driver’s license or state identification card for at least a year before they can carry a concealed firearm in public.

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Under current regulations, applicants must take a test to obtain a permit which entails fees of more than $100.

The measure, signed late on Thursday, was approved by the

Republican-controlled legislature despite concerns over public safety if the state made it easier to carry hidden weapons. Advocates framed the issue in terms of the constitutional right to bear arms.

“North Dakota has a rich heritage of hunting and a culture of deep respect for firearm safety,” Burgum said. “As a hunter and gun owner myself, I strongly support gun rights for law-abiding citizens.”

The legislation makes North Dakota the 12th state to allow gun owners to carry their weapons without a concealed-carry permit, according to the Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence, which opposes the practice.

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“There’s kind of a mythology around this idea that if you’re going armed in public, you’re going to be able to save the day, but actually it’s more likely you will get yourself hurt or hurt an innocent person,” said Laura Cutilletta, a managing attorney with the center.

Burgum said his state’s bill would not make it easier for criminals to obtain guns. Firearms dealers still must comply with federal background checks to ensure purchasers are not convicted felons, he said.

Last week, South Dakota Governor Dennis Daugaard, a Republican, vetoed a measure to allow carrying a concealed weapon without a permit. He defended existing rules as reasonable, saying lawful gun owners have easily obtained concealed carry permits.

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Last year, the San Francisco-based 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals found the U.S. Constitution does not grant any fundamental right to carry a concealed firearm in public.

The ruling upheld the authority of officials to grant permits to those facing a specific danger but only applied to states in the western United States.

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The U.S. Supreme Court in 2013 declined to accept a case that involved the issue of whether firearm owners have a constitutional right to carry concealed guns.

Thirty-one states have “open carry” laws, allowing handgun owners to carry weapons in full view without a license, according to the center.

(Reporting by Alex Dobuzinskis in Los Angeles; Editing by Cynthia Osterman)

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Louisiana Democrat re-elected governor — despite Trump’s rallies for the Republican candidate

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The Associated Press has called the Lousiana's governor's race for incumbent Democrat John Bel Edwards.

Edwards triumphed over Republican businessman Eddie Rispone, who called to concede.

The outcome is another major political loss for President Donald Trump, who had held multiple campaign rallies for Rispone.

During his most recent rally, Trump begged the crowd to give him a "big win" in the election.

Eddie Rispone has conceded the #lagov race to Gov. John Bel Edwards, giving the Democrat four more years in ruby red Louisiana despite Trump’s best efforts to flip the seat. Edwards camp says Rispone called minutes ago to concede. #lagov #lalege

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Press secretary says it is ‘dangerous for the country’ to question whether she is putting out honest info

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Press secretary Stephanie Grisham on Saturday argued it was "dangerous for the country" for anyone to challenge the veracity of her claims.

Grisham made her argument after President Donald Trump went to Walter Reed Hospital for an unannounced doctor's visit, resulting in a great deal of speculation.

Following the visit, Grisham claimed Trump was "healthy" and "without complaints" -- a claim many found unlikely as the president has spent a good deal of time as president airing his many grievances.

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Sondland used WhatsApp to communicate with Ukraine — and won’t turn over the messages: report

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Ambassador Gordon Sondland used WhatsApp to send encrypted messages to a top Ukranian official, The Washington Post reported Saturday.

The communication occurred with Andriy Yermak, a top aide to President Volodymr Zelensky, when Sondland was in Kyiv, the newspaper reported.

"Sondland was also texting back and forth on WhatsApp with Yermak throughout the trip, and had been communicating with other Ukrainian officials over the messaging app in the preceding and subsequent months, according to people familiar with his interactions," The Post reported.

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