South Dakota governor signs law to allow concealed handguns without a permit

South Dakota governor signs law to allow concealed handguns without a permit
© Stefani Reynolds

South Dakota Gov. Kristi NoemKristi Lynn NoemSouth Dakota governor calls removal of Confederate statues effort to 'discredit' Founding Fathers Protesters block highway as Trump makes his way to Mount Rushmore Infectious disease expert: Trump Mount Rushmore event is 'beyond irresponsible' and 'the behavior of a cult leader' MORE (R) on Thursday signed a law allowing residents to carry concealed handguns without a permit.

Noem, who just entered office earlier this month, signed the bill repealing the permit requirement that was passed by the state legislature, The Argus Leader reported.

She said she was “proud” that it was the first bill she signed as South Dakota governor.

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“It's special for me to be signing a bill into law that protects our Second Amendment rights," Noem said.

The law, referred to by its proponents as “constitutional carry,” gives South Dakotans to choose whether to obtain a concealed carry permit.

It does not change the restrictions around who is allowed to carry a concealed weapon, which excludes those with convictions for a felony, weapons related misdemeanor or for controlled substances, the newspaper previously reported.

The state already allows the permit-less open carry of weapons except in county courthouses, elementary or secondary schools or at establishments where the sale of alcohol is over one-half its total income.

The law will go into effect on July 1, making South Dakota the 14th state to allow constitutional carry.

Noem said after the bill signing that the constitutional carry was part of the “fundamental values” framed in the Constitution.

"I believe this legislation will further protect the Seconds Amendment rights of the citizens of South Dakota and this country," she said.

 

Democrats and law enforcement officials, including the South Dakota Sheriff’s Association, opposed the measure and called for it to be limited to South Dakota residents.

A bill is currently under consideration in the state House that would restrict permitless concealed carry to residents, The Argus Leader reported.

According to a poll from the nonprofit gun safety group Everytown for Gun Safety released Tuesday, the vast majority of South Dakotans surveyed, 84 percent, said they support the state's existing concealed carry permit requirement.

Support for the permits appears to be bipartisan, according to the poll. Eighty-one percent of respondents who voted for President TrumpDonald John TrumpProtesters tear down statue of Christopher Columbus in Baltimore 'Independence Day' star Bill Pullman urges Americans to wear a 'freedom mask' in July 4 PSA Protesters burn American flag outside White House after Trump's July Fourth address MORE and 92 percent of respondents who voted for Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonDemocrats try to turn now into November The Memo: Unhappy voters could deliver political shocks beyond Trump On The Trail: Trump, coronavirus fuel unprecedented voter enthusiasm MORE during the 2016 presidential election support current requirements.

The National Rifle Association (NRA) celebrated the new law on Thursday.

 "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,”  Chris Cox, the executive director of the NRA-ILA, said in a statement.