PIERRE, S.D. — Republican Gov. Kristi Noem signed into law the first bill of 2019 and of her administration Thursday, Jan. 31, allowing permitless concealed carry in South Dakota.

Current law in South Dakota does not require gun owners to have a permit in order to open carry, but does for concealed carry. Senate Bill 47 eliminates the requirement of a concealed carry permit, though South Dakotans can still opt to get a permit if they wish to take advantage of reciprocity agreements with other states. Now that it has been signed into law, SB 47 takes effect July 1.

"Those in the state that carry a weapon for self-defense will no longer have to worry about how they choose to do so," Noem said following the bill-signing ceremony.

She said she is proud that the first bill she signed since taking the governor's office at the start of January is one that “protects our Second Amendment rights.”

“This (bill) was a significant piece of legislation that had been worked on for years, and I've always believed in defending our constitutional rights,” Noem said. “So this was a special one to me to be able to have as my first bill I signed into law.”

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Noem previously voiced support for permitless concealed carry — or “constitutional carry,” as lawmakers call it — but she said in recent weeks that she had to discuss the legislation with law enforcement. Both the South Dakota’s Sheriff’s Association and State’s Attorneys Association opposed SB 47, citing concerns that it allows non-South Dakota residents to enter the state and carry concealed weapons.

Several similar bills have been filed, some of which have more favorable reviews from law enforcement groups. Noem didn’t offer direction to legislators on these upcoming bills on Thursday, saying, “We’ll see how that debate and discussion goes. ... I know law enforcement has some suggestions and they’ll continue to offer that throughout session.”