South Dakota Expected To Pass Constitutional Carry Law
Despite the efforts of the anti-Second Amendment lobby, South Dakota may soon join other states that are expanding lawful gun ownership.
Called “Constitutional Carry” or “permitless carry” laws, South Dakota is expected to join the ranks of those who have already taken the significant steps to ensure everyday Americans can defend themselves in public and private spaces. Along with the 13 states that allow residents to conceal carry without a permit, Illinois, Montana, and New Mexico have a limited permitless carry policy. In Utah, Gov. Gar Herbert vetoed legislation establishing permitless carry, and Oklahoma followed suit in 2018.
South Dakota Gov. Dennis Daugaard vetoed a similar measure in 2012 only to have it re-introduced and vetoed again in 2017. State lawmakers were ready to approve the legislation a third time but curbed their enthusiasm until after the mid-term elections. The outcome shows a significant shift in political will and the bill is expected to be resurrected soon after the incoming GOP governor takes the oath of office.
“There are a lot of Republicans that are very excited to have a conservative governor,” said the bill’s sponsor, Rep. Lynne DiSanto.” I think under a new governor it’s very likely to pass.”
South Dakota Gov.-elect Kristi Noem has been a staunch Second Amendment rights Republican. Firearms were a significant voter issue that helped Noem defeat her liberal Democrat opponent. As it stands, there were more than 100,000 permits issued in South Dakota before the elections and owners have grown fearful the state could join the anti-gun movement prevalent in the so-called Blue States.
But South Dakota has been hovering just below a permitless carry policy for years. Unlike fiercely anti-firearm states, carrying a concealed weapon without a permit only amounts to a misdemeanor. A five-year permit costs residents a modest $10.
Incoming Gov. Noem has indicated that her administration would support a Constitutional Carry policy in principle. She has not explicitly backed the previously vetoed bill. The incoming governor’s transition team has staked out ground that law enforcement officials would need to be brought into the discussion to create an actionable state policy.
“The governor-elect will work to find a way that law enforcement and gun right proponents can come together around a solution,” Noem’s transition team spokeswoman Kristin Wileman reportedly said.
According to news reports, the state’s Sheriff’s Association executive director Staci Ackerman supported a previous measure. The bill would have required permitless carry for residents with a valid driver’s license or state ID. The upcoming legislative session runs from Jan. 8 through March 29, and many anticipate a Constitutional Carry measure to get fast-tracked to the governor’s desk.
While legal gun owners in too many states are facing an uphill battle, the trend toward Second Amendment protections may pick up another safe haven in 2019.
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