"Constitutional Gun Bill" passes House State Affairs Committee

Published: Feb. 15, 2017 at 6:39 PM CST
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South Dakota lawmakers are considering a bill that would eliminate permit requirements for gun owners.

House Bill 1072 would remove the requirement to obtain a permit to lawfully carry a firearm for self-defense.

"The right of the people to keep and bear arms should not be infringed,” said Senator Phil Jensen, “It doesn't say you can carry if you jump through this hoop, or if you jump through that hoop."

In the state of South Dakota it is already legal to carry a firearm openly and our neighbor to the west, Wyoming, has a permitless carry law already in place.

"They have passed it and they don't have any problems with it,” said Jensen

Some of the concern over permitless carrying is about rise in crime.

“States bigger than South Dakota have passed laws like this,” said Richard Folsland, range safety officer at the Smoking Gun Indoor Shooting Range, “and they have not seen a rise in crime because Joe Somebody is carrying.”

The new law would not take the permit process away from purchasing a gun, just carrying it. The difference between concealed and open carry is the visibility of a weapon, a permitless carry would allow a person to carry a gun openly or concealed without a permit.

The National Rifle Association made a statement on Wednesday as the bill moved to the next step. They say: “It's encouraging to see members of the house state affairs committee stand up for the rights of their constituents. Hopefully we'll witness a similar recognition of rights when the full house votes on this vital piece of legislation.”

On Friday, Governor Dennis Daugaard released a statement saying he is proud of South Dakota’s current gun laws, but is not sure about the proposed laws.

"Just as I do not support gun control measures, I cannot support bad legislation which would lead to a whole host of unintended consequences.” Said Daugaard.

HB 1078 passed the State Affairs Committee with a few amendments to wordage on Feb. 15.

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