South Dakota Governor, Kristi Noem (R), who’s only been in office for a month, signed a bill repealing the law that requires people to have a permit to carry a concealed weapon in South Dakota.
Noem said she was proud that this was the very first bill she signed into law in her gubernatorial freshman year. In her words, “It’s special for me to be signing a bill into law that protects our Second Amendment rights,” and gun rights enthusiasts are thrilled with her first major legal move as South Dakota’s new governor. When the law goes into effect this summer, the Mount Rushmore State will become the fourteenth state in the country to allow people to carry a concealed weapon without a permit.
Conceal Carry Coming Soon
The new law, referred to informally as the “constitutional carry” law, gives residents of South Dakota the choice whether or not to obtain a concealed carry permit; none is required once the law goes into effect July 1, 2019. The law, however, does not alter restrictions regarding who is allowed to carry a concealed weapons; the law excludes the no permit option to people with convictions for a felony, weapons-related misdemeanors, or for crimes involving controlled substances. South Dakota already allows the permit-less open carry of weapons except when in county courthouses, elementary or secondary schools, or where the sale of alcohol is over 50% of the business’ total income (bars, liquor stores, and the like).
Noem implied the decision to sign the bill to repeal an earlier law was basically an easy one. The Governor said signing that the constitutional carry was part of the fundamental values framed in the Constitution, and she believes “this legislation will further protect the Second Amendment rights of the citizens of South Dakota and this country.” In a Tweet on January 31, the Governor wrote, “I’m signing my first bill into law as governor. A surreal moment. This is a responsibility I will never take lightly. I’m honored, humbled, and proud to be a South Dakotan.”
Support and Opposition
While Democrats and the South Dakota Sheriff’s Association oppose Governor Noem’s decision, the National Rifle Association (NRA) considers the law a huge victory and celebrated Noem’s signing last week. The NRA-ILA’s Executive Director, Chris Cox, had this to say, “This law is a common sense measure that allows law-abiding South Dakotans to exercise their fundamental right to self-protection in the manner that best suits their needs.”
The NRA-ILA, the Institute for Legislative Action for the NRA, was established in 1975 and is described as the “lobbying arm of the NRA.” According to its website, the NRA-ILA “is committed to preserving the right of all law-abiding individuals to purchase, possess and use firearms for legitimate purposes as guaranteed by the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.”
A nonprofit gun safety group by the name of “Everytown for Gun Safety” conducted a poll and found the vast majority of South Dakota residents it polled indicated they support South Dakota’s existing concealed carry permit requirement (84%). The poll also showed that support for being required to carry permits for concealed weapon is bipartisan as both Trump and Clinton supporters participated in the poll.