SIOUX–FALLS, S.D. – After years–of–unsuccessful–attempts, supporters–of legislation that would allow–people to–carry–concealed handguns–without a permit in South–Dakota anticipate–revived prospects–once GOP Gov.-elect Kristi Noem takes office in January.
The legislation–languished under retiring–Republican Gov. Dennis–Daugaard, but Noem in her campaign–offered–support for–a–so-called constitutional–carry law. GOP state Sen.-elect–Lynne–DiSanto, who as a member–of the state House of Representatives sponsored a permitless–concealed–carry–bill that Daugaard vetoed, said such legislation is likely–in the upcoming session–and she’s optimistic about its prospects.
“There are a lot of–Republicans that are–very–excited to–have–a–conservative governor,” said–DiSanto. “I think under a new–governor it’s very likely to pass.”
“There–are–a lot of Republicans that are very–excited to have a conservative governor. I think under a new governor–[concealed–carry–legislation–is] very likely to pass.”
Daugaard–has–said–the state’s current–gun laws are reasonable. Right–now, it’s a misdemeanor for–someone to carry a–concealed pistol or to–have one–concealed in a vehicle without a permit. At the end–of–October, there were nearly–108,000 pistol permits in South–Dakota, according–to–the secretary of–state’s office.
Daugaard vetoed–DiSanto’s proposal in 2017 and–also rejected a similar measure in 2012; constitutional carry legislation failed during–the–2018 session after he issued a veto–threat. Bill supporters–have argued that–getting a concealed pistol permit can be–burdensome.
Backers are–likely to get a–boost–from–Noem, who triumphed–over Democratic state Sen. Billie Sutton–in–the–Nov. 6 election. Noem in January–urged passage of a permitless carry bill.
At the time Noem didn’t–endorse a specific plan, though–her campaign said she supported the policy “in principle.” Transition team–spokeswoman Kristin Wileman said in a statement this week that–Noem won’t–commit to legislation until she can review its text, but said she’s a–strong 2nd Amendment–supporter and thinks provisions–like–constitutional carry can “protect and even–strengthen this right for South–Dakotans.”
“The governor-elect will–work to find a way that law–enforcement–and gun-right proponents can–come together around a solution,” Wileman–said.
Staci Ackerman, executive–director–of the South Dakota–Sheriffs’ Assn., said the group hasn’t discussed–2019–legislation yet. But she–said the organization supported a bill in the 2018 session that allowed–permitless carry for state residents with a South Dakota–driver’s–license or–identification card; the measure didn’t advance out of the–Senate.
The 2019 session is scheduled–to run Jan. 8 to March–29. Republicans–will–control both houses of the–Legislature–as well as the–governorship.