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South Dakota Passes Constitutional Concealed Carry Law

House Bill 1248, passed the South Dakota Legislature last Tuesday awaits Gov. Dennis Daugaard’s signature or veto.

If Gov. Daugaard signs the law, South Dakotans will bypass a layer of bureaucracy, including a background check and fee, before being able to carry a concealed weapon.

Anyone with a valid South Dakota driver’s license who isn’t disqualified from carrying a concealed weapon – including convicted felons, people with a “history of violence” and people with mental illness – will be able to carry a concealed weapon without the permit under the state law and the U.S. Constitution.

South Dakota law does not require permits to own guns, keep or bear them in a home or business or carry guns openly. However, the law currently requires that people have permits to carry concealed guns.

Permits still will be available for people who want one. Many other states recognize South Dakota concealed weapon permits as valid, and travelers would need a permit in order to carry concealed weapons those states. If the bill is signed into law, it would make South Dakota the fifth state to not require a concealed carry permit. Alaska, Arizona, Vermont and Wyoming don’t require permits to carry concealed weapons.

The bill won’t change where people are allowed to carry a weapon. It will still be against the law to possess a firearm inside a courthouse or to possess a loaded firearm while intoxicated.

Federal laws requiring background checks for people buying firearms remain.

Supporters say it is a matter of giving citizens their freedoms.

Sen. Larry Rhoden, R-Union Center, said there’s no reason to make South Dakotans get a concealed weapons permit as long as they have valid driver’s licenses and would meet the requirements for getting a concealed weapons permit. People have a constitutional right to bear arms, he said.

“I believe this simply restores some of the constitutional rights of the citizens of South Dakota, the law-abiding citizens,” said Sen. Larry Rhoden, R-Union Center.

Rhoden said constitutional rights trump any argument for leaving control with local law officials.

“When in doubt, give us our rights,” Rhoden said.

It is uncertain whether the Governor will sign the bill. Gov. Daugaard said Wednesday that he has yet to examine it closely. The governor is required by law to sign or veto the law two weeks after he receives it.

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Reader Comments (3)

Today I received an email from a representative of the National Association for Gun Rights and South Dakota Gun Owners, South Dakotas largest gun rights organization. They introduced constitutional carry in the state. Please see their alert regarding HB 1248, which I have posted as a follow up.
March 7, 2012 | Registered CommenterBonzer Wolf
This is the way it should be. The RKBA is an enumerated, protected right. The state can only infringe this right in very narrow terms (strict scrutiny). You do not need a permit or to pay a fee to exercise any other enumerated right. In the case of prohibited people - almost all prohibited people know who they are. However, it is the state that has the responsibility to prove that those carrying unlawfully are so doing. Convicted felons know they cant carry and if they do carry they go back to jail. Law abiding citizens should never have to prostrate themselves before the state and pay fees to prove they are law abiding.
March 17, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterTony
I agree with your opinion on the RKBA. Unfortunately, the Governor has vetoed the Bill. The Legislature will return on Monday to attempt to over ride the veto. Follow the developments here on BW
March 17, 2012 | Registered CommenterBonzer Wolf

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