South Dakota Not Quite Ready for Resident Alien Concealed Carry Permits?

As you may remember, South Dakota’s last legislature passed a bill into law which permits law-abiding resident aliens to procure a concealed carry permit, as long as they otherwise meet the same requirements as South Dakota citizens.

The law went into effect on July 1. I do not know how many newly-legal applications were filed at that time, but I know that a friend of mine was one of them. After submitting the standard paperwork at the county sheriff’s office, the individual receiving the paperwork first told us that my friend could not get a permit because he was not a citizen. Upon our informing her that the law had just changed and giving her the green card to show his legal status, my friend was told that he should return in a week to get his temporary permit.

Slightly disappointed, since my own paperwork had been processed in about 15 minutes and I immediately received a temporary permit (different county), he agreed to return in a week’s time.

He wanted to go and see how things were going yesterday (not quite a full week) but I encouraged him to call first to lessen any possible disappointment . He did so and was informed that the person who was responsible for doing the background checks, etc had not processed the form because he (the person checking) did not know how to handle the alien application. Further, we were informed that this person was now on vacation and we should check back early next week.

It would appear that my earlier thoughts on why the implementation was several months after the passage of the bill were wrong:

Apparently, as I had thought earlier, it will take some while before the new regulations are sent out to all the sheriffs and staff are trained on the additional background checking which must occur for non-citizens.

The apparent lack of preparation on the part of the sheriff’s office is troubling to say the least. I realize that there may be literally a few hundred people in the state who would qualify for this permit while not being citizens, but a paucity of participants does nothing to excuse a lack of preparation for a law which should have caught no one–particularly law enforcement–by surprise.

I would hope that this is an isolated incident and not indicative of the level of preparation which exists throughout the state. Unfortunately, at present, this is the only data from which I can draw conclusions.