South Dakotans may soon be able to carry concealed handguns without a permit

After yearsofunsuccessfulattempts, supportersof legislation that would allowpeople tocarryconcealed handgunswithout a permit in SouthDakota anticipaterevived prospectsonce GOP Gov.-elect Kristi Noem takes office in January.

The legislationlanguished under retiringRepublican Gov. DennisDaugaard, but Noem in her campaignofferedsupport foraso-called constitutionalcarry law. GOP state Sen.-electLynneDiSanto, who as a memberof the state House of Representatives sponsored a permitlessconcealedcarrybill that Daugaard vetoed, said such legislation is likelyin the upcoming sessionand she’s optimistic about its prospects.

“There are a lot ofRepublicans that areveryexcited tohaveaconservative governor,” saidDiSanto. “I think under a newgovernor it’s very likely to pass.”

“Therearea lot of Republicans that are veryexcited to have a conservative governor. I think under a new governor[concealedcarrylegislationis] very likely to pass.”

— SouthDakotastateSen.-electLynneDiSanto


Daugaardhassaidthe state’s currentgun laws are reasonable. Rightnow, it’s a misdemeanor forsomeone to carry aconcealed pistol or tohave oneconcealed in a vehicle without a permit. At the endofOctober, there were nearly108,000 pistol permits in SouthDakota, accordingtothe secretary ofstate’s office.

Daugaard vetoedDiSanto’s proposal in 2017 andalso rejected a similar measure in 2012; constitutional carry legislation failed duringthe2018 session after he issued a vetothreat. Bill supportershave argued thatgetting a concealed pistol permit can beburdensome.

Backers arelikely to get aboostfromNoem, who triumphedover Democratic state Sen. Billie SuttonintheNov. 6 election. Noem in Januaryurged passage of a permitless carry bill.

At the time Noem didn’tendorse a specific plan, thoughher campaign said she supported the policy “in principle.” Transition teamspokeswoman Kristin Wileman said in a statement this week thatNoem won’tcommit to legislation until she can review its text, but said she’s astrong 2nd Amendmentsupporter and thinks provisionslikeconstitutional carry can “protect and evenstrengthen this right for SouthDakotans.”

“The governor-elect willwork to find a way that lawenforcementand gun-right proponents cancome together around a solution,” Wilemansaid.

Staci Ackerman, executivedirectorof the South DakotaSheriffs’ Assn., said the group hasn’t discussed2019legislation yet. But shesaid the organization supported a bill in the 2018 session that allowedpermitless carry for state residents with a South Dakotadriver’slicense oridentification card; the measure didn’t advance out of theSenate.

The 2019 session is scheduledto run Jan. 8 to March29. Republicanswillcontrol both houses of theLegislatureas well as thegovernorship.


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