South Dakota Headed for Constitutional Carry with Senate Win

South Dakota’s new governor, Kristi Noem, is much more receptive to constitutional carry than her predecessor. (Photo: Facebook)

The South Dakota State Senate passed a bill yesterday on a 23-11 vote that would allow permit-less or “constitutional” carry of concealed firearms. With a new governor in Pierre, gun owners are hopeful the legislation will finally pass both houses and become law.

Supporters argue that permit requirements only apply to law-abiding citizens, who wouldn’t commit crimes anyway.

“Law-abiding citizens are currently the only people obtaining permits to carry concealed,” said Sen. Brock Greenfield. “If you’re not a law-abiding citizen, you cannot obtain that permit. Allowing these individuals to carry concealed without a permit will not change the fact that they’re law abiding. Criminals, on the other hand, are already carrying concealed firearms without permits, with no regard for our laws.”

Both residents and visitors to South Dakota would be allowed to carry a concealed handgun without a license, according to the bill (SB47). The Argus Leader reports that some legislators expressed a desire to limit the law’s application to state residents, and the House will have a chance to amend the policy once they begin to consider it.

SEE ALSO: Georgia Lawmaker Introduces Constitutional Carry Legislation

Much of the debate has centered around whether constitutional rights like the right to keep and bear arms can or should be limited.

Opponents of the bill cited the late Justice Antonin Scalia’s observation that Second Amendment rights are not unlimited.

“We are creating an expectation of extraordinary absolute rights, and that is not healthy for a democracy,” said Sen. Susan Wismer. “I think our democracy would be doing much better if we encouraged our citizens … to exercise just a bit of restraint and responsibility rather than sell that entitled attitude, the ‘we demand our rights’ philosophy.’”

Sen. Lance Russell disagreed, saying he found Wismer’s comments to be “dangerous.”

“I think describing people who want to exercise their constitutional rights as having an ‘entitlement mentality’ is a very dangerous of way of characterizing the right of people to exercise their constitutional rights, whether it be the First Amendment or the Fourth Amendment,” Russell said.

SEE ALSO: Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin Vetoes Constitutional Carry

This isn’t the first time constitutional carry has seen success in the South Dakota legislature, but supporters are hopeful it will finally pass the governor’s desk this year. Former South Dakota Gov. Dennis Daugaard vetoed the legislation in 2012 and 2017, but new Republican Governor Kristi Noem expressed support for constitutional carry during her campaign in 2018.

While she didn’t support any particular language, her campaign said she supported the idea “in principle.”

“There are a lot of Republicans that are very excited to have a conservative governor,” former South Dakota Representative and current Senator Lynn DiSanto told the Associated Press. “I think under a new governor it’s very likely to pass.”

South Dakotans who wish to voice their support of the bill (SB47) to their state representatives can do so here.

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About the author: Jordan Michaels has been reviewing firearm-related products for over four years and enjoying them for much longer. With family in Canada, he’s seen first hand how quickly the right to self-defense can be stripped from law-abiding citizens. He escaped that statist paradise at a young age, married a sixth-generation Texan, and currently lives in Waco. Follow him on Instagram @bornforgoodluck and email him at jordan@gunsamerica.com.

{ 7 comments… add one }
  • Dave Brown January 25, 2019, 12:19 pm

    Since I am one of the few that live is SD I think it is a great idea. I have been carrying for almost 40 years anyway, and I have have a SD permit since they first came out about 35 or so years ago. Now if the left and the right could do this Nationally I am all in. But, I hate to say it, but neither side has the Balls To Get Er Done. I know u all think the left is anti gun, but that is a Party thing, and I do not like either Party.

  • Toolie January 25, 2019, 12:07 pm

    I agree with Nathan and Blasted Cap and I want to warn anyone thinking of moving to South Dakota to stay away, especially the people in California, Oregon and Washington state. What with the earthquakes, floods, tsunamis, plagues, yellow fever, malaria, crime, and lack of bike paths – this place is hell on earth. So please, for your sake and your children’s sake, if you don’t like the idea of walking out to the outhouse when it’s 10 below zero – DON’T COME HERE!

    And to NavyVet, yes there are only 900 people in South Dakota and it would be nice to keep it that way.

  • NavyVet1959 January 25, 2019, 6:52 am

    I’m sure the 900 people who actually live in South Dakota will appreciate this. 🙂

    • blasted cap January 25, 2019, 8:57 am

      Pretty close. Actually we just say nobody lives here and it’s cold all the time to keep the people that live on the coasts out.
      Life is better in the 605.

      • Nathan January 25, 2019, 9:40 am

        Exactly, lol. I love South Dakota

        • Nathan January 25, 2019, 9:50 am

          Er, I mean, It’s also ridiculously hot in the summer and nothing to do. You DEFINITELY don’t want to move here!

  • Ken January 25, 2019, 6:20 am

    I wish writers, even “2A friendly” ones would learn the difference between a law and a constitutional amendment! Passing a law does not give anyone a “constitutional right” and a law is just as easy to un-pass as it is to pass.

    That said, SD, like every other state, already has their inalienable right to carry Constitutially protected.

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