South Dakota law already allows law-abiding citizens to carry a concealed weapon. The simple, straightforward permit process allows law enforcement to ensure that those who carry concealed weapons do not fall under one of the state’s narrow exceptions. Each year, locally-elected sheriffs deny permits, in most cases because the applicant has a serious criminal history. Under this bill, those who are prohibited from carrying a concealed weapon would no longer be informed of that fact. Understandably, law enforcement officials from across South Dakota have objected to this bill.
This bill will also result in longer and more frequent detention of those who legally carry a concealed weapon. Absent a permit requirement, law enforcement would not be able to ascertain whether an individual is “otherwise eligible to be issued a permit to carry a concealed pistol.” If this bill becomes law, innocent citizens could be detained by law enforcement and subjected to time-consuming criminal and mental health background checks.
Even if this bill becomes law, those who wish to conceal a weapon in another state would, in almost all cases, still be required to have a concealed carry permit. Repealing that requirement in South Dakota could lead to our citizens being arrested in other states because of an honest misunderstanding as to whether they are lawfully entitled to carry a concealed weapon in that state.
This bill is a solution searching for a problem. South Dakota’s current permit process is simple and straightforward, and permits can be obtained in a matter of minutes. The current process preserves Second Amendment rights while respecting concerns for public safety, in particular the safety of law enforcement officers who put themselves at risk to protect us.
I am disappointed in the Governor’s position on this. I can understand it, but I believe that the matters he has raised would have been worked out over time and that South Dakota would have set a healthy example for other states to follow.
Considering that roughly 1 in 10 adults in South Dakota has a concealed carry permit, this law would have upped the number who would be able to carry legally without making the process more onerous.