Sunday, December 23, 2018

The South Dakota Legislature is moving to Repeal Prohibitionon Capitol Carry

The Speaker of the House in South Dakota has sponsored a bill to allow concealed carry in the South Dakota Capitol and any county court house, with an enhanced pistol permit.

It is part of a movement to restore the exercise of the Second Amendment to mainstream status. According to a study done at the Crime Prevention Research Center in 2017, 16 state capitols have arrangements for the legal carry of firearms in the Capitol, generally for those who have a concealed carry permit.  Six states only allow legislators and/or staff to legally carry.

The 16 states are: Arkansas, Florida, Idaho, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Michigan, Minnesota, New Hampshire, New Mexico, Oregon, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Washington, and Wisconsin.

The six states that restrict carry to legislators and staff are: Arizona, Georgia, Indiana, Missouri, Nevada, and Virginia

Representative Lee Qualm, the Majority Leader in South Dakota, has filed bill HB1129. A companion bill, SB 77, has been filed in the Senate.

No texts exist for either bill at present.  It is expected they will be very similar, if not identical to the bill vetoed by Governor Daugaard in 2017.

In 2017, HB 1156 was passed 46-20 in the House.  It passed the Senate, but was vetoed by Governor Daugaard. Here are the relevant changes that bill would have enacted. From HB 1156 (2017) :

            (4)    The possession of a concealed pistol in the state capitol, other than in the chambers of the Supreme Court, by a person who was issued an enhanced permit pursuant to § 23-7-53 and who has registered, at least twenty-four hours in advance, with capitol security. The registration is valid for the length of time indicated by the permit holder, not to exceed thirty days, at which time the permit holder may submit a new registration. No fee may be charged for registering to carry;

            (5)    The possession of a concealed pistol in the state capitol by a qualified law enforcement officer or qualified retired law enforcement officer pursuant to the Law Enforcement Officers Safety Act, 18 U.S.C. § 926B and § 926C; or

The effect of the registration is that anybody who has a little forethought and knowledge of the law, and who has an enhanced carry permit, will be able to carry in the Capitol.

It is not clear if the registration with Capitol security has to be done in person at the capitol.  It prevents the ordinary tourist who has not thought ahead, from carrying in the Capitol.

HB 1156 was far from a perfect bill, but it was a step toward restoring the legal exercise of Second Amendment rights.

With a new governor,  Kristi Noem, the bill may have been changed to be less restrictive. The bill sponsor, House Majority leader Lee Qualm has said the bill is similar to HB 1156 from 2017.

Governor elect Noem is expected to be more supportive of the Second Amendment than Governor Daugaard. From
A spokeswoman for Noem said in a statement that Noem is a strong Second Amendment supporter but won’t commit to legislation until she can review its text. Incoming Lt. Gov. Larry Rhoden voted for the 2017 bill as a state representative.
The bill changes very little, as a practical matter. The South Dakota Capitol does not have metal detectors or security checks at the capitol entrances. If a person carrying a defensive firearm is discreet, no one notices and nothing is done.

Passage of the bill would change the exercise of Second Amendment rights in the capitol from illegal, with slight danger of prosecution, to legal and approved.

©2018 by Dean Weingarten: Permission to share is granted when this notice and link are included.

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