Constitutional carry bill sent to South Dakota governor

Lawmakers in the Republican-controlled state House on Tuesday overwhelmingly backed a measure to drop a requirement that those carrying concealed handguns in the state first get a permit.

The measure, Senate Bill 47, passed the Senate 23-11 last week and the House 47-23 this week, sending it to the desk of Gov. Kristi Noem, a pro-gun Republican who recently took office. The bill would recognize the Second Amendment as the only license needed to carry a concealed handgun in South Dakota.

“I’m thoroughly convinced—as I said on the floor—that a good guy with a gun will beat a bad guy with a gun any day,” said state Rep. Lee Qualm, the House Majority Leader and lead sponsor of the bill. “It’s a deterrent. I firmly believe it’s a deterrent to crime, more than it adds to crime. It’s a deterrent because then the bad guy has no idea who is carrying and I think that’s good.”

SB47 would keep in place the current permitting system, which issues five-year licenses for $10, but removes the crime of possessing an otherwise legal concealed handgun without having such a permit. Currently, it is a misdemeanor under state law to carry a concealed handgun without a license.

Kristin Wileman, a spokesperson for the governor’s office, said, “The governor has repeatedly voiced her support of constitutional carry and looks forward to reviewing the bill when it arrives at her desk.”

Gun rights groups are urging their members to contact Noem’s office in support of the measure. Previous versions have been vetoed in the past by Gov. Dennis Daugaard, who left office this month.

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