The drafted platform, which was compiled over the past seven months, includes support to raise the “semi-automatic” purchasing age from 18 to 21, to require “certified firearm safety training” for first-time gun buyers, and stricter background check requirements for gun show and private gun purchases.
“Hunting is a way of life for a lot of us. It’s definitely a way for me,” Brandon Delvo, who ran for the Legislature in far-western North Dakota in 2016, said while addressing the convention. “I can’t campaign on this out there. I know for a lot of candidates in rural areas, you can’t do it either.”
But proponents of those provisions, likely prompted by the shootings from Texas to Las Vegas to Florida, questioned if the platform was the problem. As one delegate wondered, is the party here to defend kids, “or are we about pandering to the electorate and trying to get votes?”
After lengthy discussion and a vote, the party had its answer: All the gun-related provisions in the platform were left intact.
The debate was one of numerous moments in the evening when the party sought its ultimate direction on a range of issues, and will resume on Saturday morning before a final platform is passed. It currently offers support for a range of basic items, including North Dakota’s anti-corporate farming law, a $15 per hour minimum wage, net neutrality rules and an initiated measure to create a state Ethics Commission. The party backed the legalization of marijuana, and voted down a vaguely pro-life suggestion that some delegates saw as coded language opposing abortion.
The party’s positions often directly support or oppose policies that even casual political observers will recognize. The party supports the Affordable Care Act, for example, as well as the law that gives undocumented immigrant minors a legal