Fourteen Twenty-six months ago, I wrote that we ought to change the law here in South Dakota to permit concealed carry by permanent residents and not just citizens. I even contacted a handful of legislators with the request that this at least be brought up during the 2009 legislative session. My writing and requests were to no avail.
Now, it would seem, someone has decided to pursue this same issue through a different channel:
A man who emigrated to the United States from the United Kingdom more than 30 years ago filed a lawsuit Monday against the state of South Dakota after his application for a concealed weapon permit was denied.
Under South Dakota law, a person must be a U.S. citizen in order to qualify for a concealed weapon permit, but Wayne Smith contends that provision violates the U.S. Constitution.
Smith, represented by the American Civil Liberties Union of South Dakota, filed his lawsuit in federal district court.
Smith and the ACLU also asked a federal judge for an injunction that would prohibit county sheriffs from denying concealed weapon permits based on the state’s citizenship requirement.
Very like the scenario which I was looking at, from the standpoint that a permanent resident should be permitted to defend himself/herself. As I had noted at the time:
In South Dakota, it is currently legal for permanent residents to purchase shotguns, rifles and pistols (as long as these individuals have had green cards for at least 90 days). The corollary to this would be to allow for those same permanent residents to legally carry a concealed weapon for the same purpose of self-protection which is afforded to citizens.
Several other states currently allow permanent residents to carry concealed. I see no reason why South Dakota cannot make itself welcoming to soon-to-be-citizens in the same manner. If the path from green card to citizenship was a matter of a few days and a mountain of paperwork, I am not certain that I would be concerned. However, when one considers that the path from green card to citizenship is several years, it becomes a matter worth pursuing.
I do not know if the gentleman who has filed suit is pursing citizenship or not. I’m not certain that a leaning one way or the other would make a difference to me, though that might make a difference to a judge.
Representation by the ACLU on this matter gives me slight cause to pause in full support of Mr. Smith’s action. It is interesting, however, that this is being put forward as a constitutional issue, rather than an issue of consistency in the law–as I had previously argued.
This is definitely something I’ll be watching.
One last thought for now. I doubt the request for an injuction will work–given that Mr. Smith would need to show something along the lines of probable cause for harm should the injunction not be in place. Considering that non-residents have largely not had concealed carry permits for the last 8 years, it seems a stretch to ask for this now.