South Dakota

Bill to restrict local control of firearms in South Dakota passes House by Charles Yeganian

An important area of focus for enthusiasts of gun deregulation is restricting local control over laws - removing the ability of cities, municipalities and even school districts from passing rules that make sense for them, and instead forcing them to adhere to the laws passed at the state level.

Current law in South Dakota already does this, saying that “no township [or municipality] may pass any ordinance that restricts possession, transportation, sale, transfer, ownership, manufacture, or repair of firearms or ammunition or their components.” Now, legislation that would go even further in handcuffing local governments has been passed out of the state House.

This bill, HB 1056, would amend that section to include prohibitions on towns and municipalities from imposing taxes or fees, or any licensing requirements on firearm ownership. It also authorizes the state Attorney General to send cease and desist orders to towns that attempt to regulate firearms or firearm licenses and even take legal action if the entity doesn’t comply.

Only one Democrat defected to vote with Republicans to pass the bill by a 53-16 over bipartisan opposition and comes on the heels of Gov. Kristi Noem signing “constitutional carry” legislation into law law last month. Following the vote, fourteen members of the state House have retained perfect grades on LEAP Forward’s scorecard, including seven Republicans.

The bill now goes to the Senate, where it is likely to pass a Republican-dominated chamber.

South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem to Sign Permitless Carry Law by Charles Yeganian

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.

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.

LEAP Forward has graded all action on SB 47 and scored opposition.

South Dakota: Gov. Noem to "Review" Permitless Carry Legislation by Charles Yeganian

Spokesperson for the governor’s office Kristin Wileman said Tuesday following the House vote, “The governor has repeatedly voiced her support of constitutional carry and looks forward to reviewing the bill when it arrives at her desk.”

The South Dakota Sheriff’s Association has opposed the bill, saying it’s too broad and could allow anyone to enter South Dakota while carrying a concealed weapon. The State’s Attorneys Association has also opposed the bill.

With the current system, applicants for a concealed carry permit have to pay a $10 application fee and pass a background check administered by their county sheriff’s office to qualify for their permit from the Secretary of State. There are 10 factors that disqualify an applicant from obtaining a concealed carry permit, such as past violent offenses or regular intoxication.

LEAP Forward has graded all legislative action on SB 47 and scored opposition to the bill. The full South Dakota scorecard can be viewed using the link above.

South Dakota House Passes "Constitutional Carry" Bill by Charles Yeganian

One of the NRA’s main priorities early in this legislative cycle has been South Dakota SB 47, which would allow permitless, or so-called ‘constitutional’ carry of hidden weapons in the state. Despite the bill being called a waste of the legislature’s time and despite negative reception from both voters and police organizations, and despite bipartisan opposition, the state House joined the Senate in passing the legislation yesterday.

The bill now goes to the desk of Gov. Kristi Noem, who has signaled a willingness to sign the legislation into law. LEAP Forward has graded all legislative action on this bill and has scored opposition.

Argus Leader Editorial: Legislature 'Wasting Our Time' With Constitutional Carry by Charles Yeganian

Open carry is already legal. Concealed carry is legal with a permit. Have South Dakotans been clamoring for the ability to pack heat under their winter coat without the intolerable inconvenience of filling out paperwork at their county sheriff’s office and paying a token $10 fee?

The answer is no.

In separate polls taken in 2017 and 2018 to determine statewide support for similar bills during those legislative sessions, SurveyUSA found that just under 90 percent of South Dakotans supported permits that require background checks and a fee for carrying a concealed firearm. Those polled included Republicans, Democrats and independents, gun owners and non-gun owners, parents and non-parents.

Nonetheless, these legislators persist.

The permitless carry bill, South Dakota SB 47 has passed the full Senate and House committee and is expected to be voted on this week. LEAP Forward will continue to grade action on this bill and score opposition.

South Dakota Senate Passes Permitless Concealed Carry by Charles Yeganian

Under current law, gun owners in the state are not required to hold a permit to open carry, but a permit is required in order to conceal carry. Carrying a concealed weapon without proper permitting is a misdemeanor offense.

Senators questioned the necessity of the bill, saying that the permit process in place is not too cumbersome or expensive. Under current law, South Dakotans can obtain a concealed carry permit after passing a background check administered through their local sheriff’s office and paying a $10 fee.

“Nobody is trying to deny access,” Senate Minority Leader Troy Heinert, D-Mission, said during Tuesday’s debate. “Go through the process. Ten dollars. Ten minutes. Simple.”

LEAP Forward will continue to grade action on SB 47 and is scoring opposition.

South Dakota Gov. Roem Signals Support for Constitutional Carry Legislation by Charles Yeganian

From James Nord, AP:

The Senate Judiciary Committee voted 4-3 to send the bill to the full chamber. A similar proposal passed the Legislature in 2017 before being vetoed by former Gov. Dennis Daugaard, but Noem offered support for a so-called constitutional carry law during her campaign.

Noem said Lt. Gov. Larry Rhoden met Thursday at her request with gun-rights advocates, law enforcement, community leaders and lawmakers about firearms legislation. The meeting was intended to discuss priorities and how to find agreement by the end of the 2019 session, she said.

"I've supported the principle of constitutional carry, and ... I've talked extensively about that, so we will look at specific language in each of these bills and see where the support is," Noem said. "I've also talked extensively about the fact that it's important to me that we consult with law enforcement officers ... because their role is incredibly important with making sure that we're protecting people while protecting people's rights."

South Dakota Permitless Carry Legislation Passes Committee Vote by Charles Yeganian

From Lisa Kaczke, Sioux Falls Argus Leader:

The concealed carry bill is one of several addressing gun rights in South Dakota and Lt. Gov. Larry Rhoden held a meeting with legislators, gun rights advocates, law enforcement and community leaders to begin the process to reach consensus on the various proposed gun bills by the end of session. The meeting was held at the request of Gov. Kristi Noem. It was a chance for people to come together to discuss priorities as the legislation moves through the Legislature, Noem said on Thursday.

"From my understanding, the discussion at that meeting went very well," Noem said. "It was just a starting point, there were no agreements made, but everyone talked about their priorities and what we can do to come together and have some resolutions by the end of session."

Noem, who supported Constitutional carry during her campaign, she said she'll be considering legislation's language and support when deciding whether to support a bill. It's important to consult law enforcement and have them at the table to discuss the proposals because "their role is incredibly important with making sure we're protecting people while protecting people's rights," she said.

The bill, South Dakota SB 47, passed the Senate Judiciary Committe by a 4-3 vote, with two Republicans joining the committee’s lone Democrat in voting against advancement. LEAP Forward has graded the committee vote and will continue to score opposition to this legislation