On Friday, March 17, 2017, Governor Dennis Daugaard of South Dakota vetoed HB 1072, known as the Constitutional Carry bill, and HB 1156, which would have allowed a small number of South Dakota holders of Enhanced Concealed Carry permits to carry inside of the state Capitol. His veto letters reproduced below, sans headers and signature block.
I herewith return to you House Bill 1072 with my VETO.
House Bill 1072 is an Act to repeal and revise certain provisions relating to permits to carry a concealed pistol.
The proponents of House Bill 1072 did not testify about problems that exist with our current permitting laws in the bill’s hearings. 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. 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. It is for this reason the South Dakota Sheriffs Association, the South Dakota Police Chiefs Association, the South Dakota State’s Attorneys Association, and the South Dakota Fraternal Order of Police all opposed House Bill 1072.
Proponents of this bill argued that our state concealed carry laws infringe on the Second Amendment right to bear arms. I respectfully disagree with that notion. As Justice Antonin Scalia wrote in his majority opinion in District of Columbia v. Heller: “There seems to us no doubt, on the basis of both text and history, that the Second Amendment conferred an individual right to keep and bear arms. Of course the right was not unlimited, just as the First Amendment's right of free speech was not.” As an example of a lawful limitation Justice Scalia states that “prohibitions on carrying concealed weapons were lawful under the Second Amendment….”
As a longtime member of the NRA, I support the right to bear arms. South Dakota's current permit process is simple and straightforward, and permits can be obtained in a matter of minutes. It is paramount that our state protect the rights of our citizens while at the same time protecting the lives of our citizens. I believe our current laws appropriately protect both interests, and I ask that you sustain my veto.
I respectfully return to you House Bill 1156, with my VETO.Supporters of the two bills have said that they will work to override the Governor's vetoes. That possibility seems unlikely, because the necessary two thirds votes were not there when the bills were passed this year.
House Bill 1156 is an Act to allow a concealed pistol in the Capitol with an enhanced concealed pistol permit.
On any given day, the array of people found in our historic State Capitol building includes elected officials, tourists, state employees, and school children. The protection we have in the building, from law enforcement officers in uniform or plain clothes, provides a secure environment. I am satisfied that our Highway Patrol is doing its job, and their important work would be made more difficult if others are allowed to carry weapons into the Capitol.
The law enforcement officers who protect our Capitol building have specialized training which is repeated on a regular basis. This ensures when called upon, they are ready to make split-second and life-saving decisions. They prepare themselves mentally at the beginning of each shift, so they are ready to react appropriately should the need arise.
In contrast, the 1,878 South Dakotans who hold an enhanced concealed pistol permit were required to undertake approximately eight hours of instruction, just once. This training includes South Dakota law relating to the use of force, the safe and responsible use of handguns, self-defense principles, and live fire training. There is no training requirement for renewal, even after five years have passed.
During the legislative session, meaningful debates among the public and legislators are frequent and oftentimes passionate. Where emotions can run high, it is important to be protected by people who are routinely trained to manage dangerous situations. Law enforcement training focuses on knowing when to pull the trigger—and when not to. Our law enforcement officers are uniquely able to protect the public, and I believe this bill would complicate that work.
For these reasons, I ask that you sustain my veto.
Governor Daugaard vetoed another Constitutional Carry bill in 2012.
©2017 by Dean Weingarten: Permission to share is granted when this notice and link are included.