To the Governor’s Desk: “Constitutional Carry” Passes in South Dakota

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By a vote of 47-23 yesterday, the South Dakota House gave final approval to a “Constitutional Carry” bill, sending the legislation to Gov. Kristi Noem’s desk.

Senate President Pro Tempore Brock L. Greenfield introduced Senate Bill 47 (SB47) with eight cosponsors from both chambers. The bill seeks to repeal numerous sections of state law requiring people to have a license in order to carry a concealed weapon, while still allowing county sheriffs to issue permits for people who want them for reciprocity with other states.

It is currently a misdemeanor for someone to carry a concealed pistol or to have one concealed in a vehicle without a permit; openly carrying a firearm in South Dakota is legal. According to a report by local news station KeloLand News at 5, if SB47 is signed into law, it would repeal 155 years of bans or permits on the books.

Greenfield said people are being asked to “lease back” their constitutionally protected right to bear firearms under the current system.

“We’re not trying to create a situation in which South Dakota is the Wild West,” Greenfield told the Rapid City Journal. “We’re simply trying to create a situation in which we recognize that the Second Amendment is paramount and will not be infringed.”

Over strong opposition from the South Dakota Sheriffs’ Association, the bill passed the Senate Judiciary committee by a razor-thin margin earlier this month. The 4-3 committee vote sent the bill to debate and a 23-11 vote by the Senate last week. On Monday, the House Judiciary committee approved the bill with a 10-3 vote, and the House voted 47-23 to concur with the Senate and send the bill to the Governor.

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.

EFFECT ON FEDERAL GUN CONTROL

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 SB47 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.

WHAT’S NEXT

SB47 will soon move to Gov. Noem’s desk, where she must sign or veto within 5 days after transmission (excluding weekends and holidays), or it becomes law without her signature.

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