South Dakota Governor Dennis Daugaard (R) on Friday vetoed two pro-gun bills, one of which would have allowed South Dakota residents to carry a concealed handgun without a permit.
HB 1072—also known as South Dakota’s “constitutional carry” bill—passed the House of Representatives 37-30 and the Senate 23-11.
Despite the legislature’s decisive decision, Gov. Daugaard vetoed the measure because, according to his letter to lawmakers, current concealed carry permit laws do not infringe on the Second Amendment and have effectively stopped ineligible persons from obtaining permits.
“I am unaware of a single instance in which a person who could lawfully possess a gun was denied a permit to carry a concealed pistol,” Daugaard said in the letter.
He noted that a standard concealed carry permit can be obtained “in a matter of minutes,” which, while technically not true, does reflect the ease with which South Dakotans can acquire a permit.
Unlike many states, South Dakota does not require fingerprints or the completion of a concealed carry class to receive a permit. Residents simply fill out a form and submit it to their local sheriff, who must issue a regular temporary permit within five days from the date of application. The application fee is $10.
An “enhanced” concealed carry license does require fingerprinting and a class, which allows enhanced license holders to carry concealed in six more states than regular permit holders.
Even with such minimal oversight, South Dakotan authorities have been able to bar prohibited persons from obtaining concealed carry permits, according to Daugaard.
“Our permit laws are effective in screening people who are not eligible to carry a concealed weapon. Over the last three years, Minnehaha and Pennington Counties have turned down nearly 600 permit applicants who were disqualified due to mental illness or due to violent or drug-related crimes,” Daugaard asserted.
Proponents of constitutional carry point to the text of the Second Amendment to argue that any concealed carry requirements—no matter how minimal—infringe upon the right to bear arms.
Not only are permit requirements unconstitutional, but they also argue they do little to keep law-abiding citizens safe. South Dakota Rep. Lynne DiSanto (R), who introduced HB 1072, noted on her Facebook page that criminals don’t adhere to permit requirements to carry concealed firearms.
“Pennington County has had 5 murders in 71 days, and yet our Sheriff, Kevin Thom, was opposed to constitutional carry,” she said. “Constitutional carry is about giving the law-abiding citizens the right to carry the way they choose and protect themselves. Does he honestly think the people that have committed these murders care about the permit system?”
DiSanto and others will work to override Daugaard’s veto, but, according to another Facebook post from DiSanto, lack of support from some Republicans will make a successful override difficult.