South Dakota Governor Vetoes Concealed Carry Bill

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Polish P-64 Service Pistol (Photo credit: Bob Adams)

CONTACT: Joe Kafka or Tony Venhuizen at 605-773-3212

PIERRE, S.D. – Gov. Dennis Daugaard has vetoed the following bill:

HB1248 – An Act to provide for exceptions from certain misdemeanor offenses related to possession of handguns.

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Note: A copy of Governor Daugaard’s veto message follows.

March 16, 2012
The Honorable Val Rausch
Speaker of the House of Representatives
500 East Capitol Avenue
Pierre, SD 57501-5070

Dear Mr. Speaker and Members of the House of Representatives:

I herewith return to you House Bill 1248 with my VETO. House Bill 1248 is entitled, “An Act to provide for exceptions from certain misdemeanor offenses relating to possession of handguns.”

I support our citizens’ right to possess a concealed handgun under our current laws. I ask you to sustain this veto because HB 1248 creates an exception to South Dakota’s firm, fair and reasonable concealed carry permit process. This exception weakens the reasonable protections currently in place, and it could lead to confusion and to longer and more frequent detainment of innocent citizens who choose to carry a concealed weapon.

South Dakota law already allows law-abiding citizens to carry a concealed weapon. The simple, straightforward permit process allows law enforcement to ensure that those who carry concealed weapons do not fall under one of the state’s narrow exceptions. Each year, locally-elected sheriffs deny permits, in most cases because the applicant has a serious criminal history. Under this bill, those who are prohibited from carrying a concealed weapon would no longer be informed of that fact. Understandably, law enforcement officials from across South Dakota have objected to this bill.

This bill will also result in longer and more frequent detention of those who legally carry a concealed weapon. Absent a permit requirement, law enforcement would not be able to ascertain whether an individual is “otherwise eligible to be issued a permit to carry a concealed pistol.” If this bill becomes law, innocent citizens could be detained by law enforcement and subjected to time-consuming criminal and mental health background checks.

Even if this bill becomes law, those who wish to conceal a weapon in another state would, in almost all cases, still be required to have a concealed carry permit. Repealing that requirement in South Dakota could lead to our citizens being arrested in other states because of an honest misunderstanding as to whether they are lawfully entitled to carry a concealed weapon in that state.

This bill is a solution searching for a problem. South Dakota’s current permit process is simple and straightforward, and permits can be obtained in a matter of minutes. The current process preserves Second Amendment rights while respecting concerns for public safety, in particular the safety of law enforcement officers who put themselves at risk to protect us.

It is paramount that our state protects 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 respectfully request that you sustain my veto.
Respectfully submitted,

Dennis Daugaard

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Bob Ellis has been the owner of media company Dakota Voice, LLC since 2005. He is a 10-year U.S. Air Force veteran, a political reporter and commentator for the past decade, and has been involved in numerous election and public policy campaigns for over 20 years. He was a founding member and board member of the Tea Party groups Citizens for Liberty and the South Dakota Tea Party Alliance. He lives in Rapid City, South Dakota with his wife and two children.
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  • thisoldspouse

    I’m not really understanding the provisions of the bill or if his veto was for a good reason.   It seems that the current law already pretty much establishes concealed carry.  But the reasons in his letter are a little convoluted and hard to understand.

    But when someone trots out the canard “a solution in search of a problem” flashing red lights and sirens go off in my head; this is a standard DemoLib excuse.  It’s appalling that a Republican would utter it.

    • Bob Ellis

      I wouldn’t classify it as a total betrayal of the Second Amendment, but I think his rationale is weak. Someone who is going to carry a concealed weapon when they wouldn’t otherwise be able to get a concealed carry permit isn’t going to worry about the law in the first place; the old axiom about criminals not worrying about the law is as applicable to this as to any gun law in general.

      The primary opponents to it (other than some of our liberal “Republican” lawmakers and lawmakers who think their ring needs to be kissed before they can vote for a good bill) was some folks in law enforcement. But having worked in law enforcement for many years myself, I don’t think their concerns hold much water–certainly not enough to outweigh the unburdened right to carry a gun in a concealed fashion for lawful self defense.