Permission not Required: “Constitutional Carry” Bill Introduced in South Dakota

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A “Constitutional Carry” bill introduced in the South Dakota House would make it legal to carry a firearm without a license in the state, fostering an environment hostile to federal gun control.

Sen. Lance Russell (R-Hot Springs) introduced Senate Bill 38 (SB38) on Jan. 6, with eight cosponsors from both chambers. The bill seeks to repeal numerous sections of state law requiring state residents to have a license in order to carry a concealed weapon, while still allowing county sheriffs to issue permits. Under current state law, residents are required to have a conceal carry license to have a weapon in their vehicle.

Former Gov. Dennis Daugaard rejected similar measures in the past, but with the election of Kristi Noem, supporters hope the legislation can be signed into law this time around. Gun shop owner Brandon Maddox told news station KSFY that a concealed carry permit is redundant.

“I think that the second amendment friendly people in the state of South Dakota would say that I had to have the background check when I bought the firearm, I passed the background check, I now legally own and possess this handgun. Why should I then have to go to my Sheriff’s Office and get a piece of paper and permission from him to now be able to carry this firearm concealed?”


While permitless carry bills do not directly affect federal gun control, the widespread passage of permitless conceal carry laws in states subtly undermines federal efforts to regulate guns. As we’ve seen with marijuana and industrial hemp, a federal regulation becomes ineffective when states ignore it and pass laws encouraging the prohibited activity anyway.

The federal government lacks the enforcement power necessary to maintain its ban, and people will willingly take on the small risk of federal sanctions if they know the state will not interfere. This increases when the state actively encourages “the market.”

Less restrictive state gun laws will likely have a similar impact on federal gun laws. It will make it that much more difficult for the feds to enforce any future federal gun control, and increase the likelihood that states with few limits will simply refuse to cooperate with federal enforcement efforts.

State actions such as passing SB38 would lower barriers for those wanting to the option of defending themselves with firearms and encourages a “gun-friendly” environment that would make federal efforts to limit firearms that much more difficult.


SB38 has been referred to the Senate Judiciary Committee where it must pass by a majority vote before moving forward in the legislative process.

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