SD governor to sign permitless concealed carry bill into law

PIERRE, S.D. — Republican Gov. Kristi Noem announced on social media that she will sign a bill allowing South Dakotans to carry concealed guns without a permit into law Thursday.

Noem's announcement on Wednesday, Jan. 30, came less than 24 hours after the House passed Senate Bill 47 by a 47-23 vote on Tuesday. It passed the Senate last week by a 23-11 vote. The governor's office later announced via news release that Noem will host SB 47's signing ceremony — the first bill-signing ceremony of the 2019 legislative session and of Noem's tenure as governor — at 12 p.m. Central Time Thursday.

South Dakotans currently do not need a permit in order to open carry, but do in order to carry a concealed firearm. In order to obtain a concealed carry permit under current statute, a gun owner must pass a state background check administered by their county sheriff's department and pay a $10 fee. SB 47 eliminates that mandate, but gun owners could choose to still get a permit in order to take advantage of reciprocity agreements with other states.

Proponents of the measure say gun owners are already subject to a federal background check when they purchase a gun from a licensed seller, and that the permitting process infringes upon Second Amendment rights. Opponents say guns purchased from private individuals or illegally online would not be subject to such checks, and the state permitting process is an important second layer of protection.

Noem previously said she supports permitless concealed carry, or "constitutional carry," but that she had to review the legislation and discuss it with law enforcement before making her decision. Both the South Dakota Sheriff’s Association and the State’s Attorneys Association oppose the bill.

Noem's announcement drew mixed reactions on social media. Some lauded her decision, saying it upholds constitutional rights. Others said the majority of South Dakotans support concealed carry permits and background checks, citing a poll released by the Sioux Falls Argus Leader.

Noem tweeted, "This constitutional carry legislation will further protect the Second Amendment rights of law-abiding South Dakotans."

With Noem's signature, SB 47 will take effect July 1.