PIERRE, S.D. -- Two bills that would loosen South Dakota concealed carry laws are moving on to a Senate vote after narrowly passing a legislative committee.
The Senate Judiciary Committee on Thursday, Jan. 17, passed two gun-related bills: One would allow gun owners to carry concealed without needing a state-issued permit, and the other would allow those with permits to carry concealed on the State Capitol grounds in Pierre.
Primary sponsor Sen. Brock Greenfield, R-Clark, said Senate Bill 47 would allow for what he calls constitutional carry, or permitless concealed carry. Under current law, South Dakotans can open carry without a permit, but need a permit in order to carry a concealed weapon. Having a concealed weapon without proper permitting is a misdemeanor offense.
“We’re not trying to create a situation where South Dakota is the Wild West,” Greenfield told committee members. “We’re simply trying to create a situation in which we recognize that the Second Amendment is paramount and will not be infringed.”
SB 47 isn’t Greenfield’s first attempt to pass permitless concealed carry legislation, and it’s not the only bill of its kind up for consideration this legislative session. Two similar bills have been filed and several have been filed in previous sessions.
The bill narrowly passed the committee by a 4-3 vote and now moves onto the Senate for a vote. The Legislature has passed similar bills in previous sessions, which were then vetoed by then-Gov. Dennis Daugaard, a Republican.
Republican Gov. Kristi Noem at a Thursday news conference said she supports the idea of constitutional carry, but needs to review the legislation and consult with law enforcement before making a final decision. She also said Lt. Gov. Larry Rhoden met with lawmakers, law enforcement officers and gun advocates to discuss potential gun legislation for the session.
Both the South Dakota Sheriff’s Association and the State’s Attorneys Association oppose the bill. Dick Tieszen, a lobbyist for the sheriff’s group, told committee members Thursday that the association finds the state’s current permit procedure is reasonable and that SB 47 is too broad.
“It allows everyone to carry without going through a permit process,” Tieszen said. “Without the permit process, folks, we don’t have any idea who’s carrying.”
According to the Secretary of State’s Office, as of Nov. 30, 2018, more than 107,000 South Dakotans hold active concealed carry permits.
Committee members also passed by a 4-3 vote Senate Bill 50, which would allow gun owners with concealed carry permits to carry concealed guns inside the state Capitol in Pierre. Daugaard has also vetoed such bills in the past.