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Permitless Carry Bill Would Gut South Dakota’s Standards for Who Can Carry a Hidden, Loaded Handgun in Public

On Friday, the Associated Press reported on the introduction of legislation to dismantle the current South Dakota law requiring a permit to carry a concealed handgun in public places.

Permitless carry would lower the bar for who may carry hidden handguns in public, threatening public safety in South Dakota. States that have enacted permitless carry laws have seen a substantial increase in firearm violence.

Last year, Everytown released polling conducted by SurveyUSA that found the vast majority of South Dakota voters surveyed ― including most gun owners ― support the state’s law requiring a permit to carry a concealed handgun in public places. Among other results, the poll shows:

  • 87 percent of South Dakota voters ― including 92 percent of South Dakota gun owners – support the state’s requirement of a permit in order to carry a concealed handgun in public.
  • Support for the permit requirement is bipartisan, with 86 percent of Republican respondents and 92 percent of Democratic respondents saying they support the state’s permit requirement.

In 2017, South Dakota’s Republican Governor Dennis Daugaard vetoed a permitless carry bill, saying, “As a longtime member of the NRA, I support the right to bear arms. It is paramount that our state protect the rights of our citizens while at the same time protecting the lives of our citizens.” He also authored an opinion piece in the Argus Leader describing current South Dakota gun laws as “effective, appropriate and minimal.

Last year, not a single state enacted permitless carry ― in fact, 17 states rejected permitless carry legislation in 2018 alone. This includes several states where Republican governors have come out against permitless carry in recent years. Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin vetoed a permitless carry bill last May after a coalition of 50 state associations, universities, business owners and law enforcement organizations opposed the legislation. And in Montana, Governor Steve Bullock cited concerns from law enforcement in his veto of permitless legislation in his state. Additionally, Indiana’s 2018 legislative session ended with the defeat of permitless carry.

If you are interested in learning more about permitless carry and how it would threaten public safety in South Dakota, please don’t hesitate to reach out.

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