South Dakota Advances Constitutional Carry Bill

While we shouldn’t need it, at this point, we do.

I’m talking about constitutional carry, which is the Holy Grail for state carry laws. Once a state has constitutional carry, also called “permitless carry,” then they start to resemble the kind of place our Founding Fathers envisioned when it came to firearms. The phrase “shall not be infringed” doesn’t and has never meant “get a permit.”

In South Dakota, that ideal condition is one step closer.

A Senate panel on Thursday approved a measure that would allow people to carry concealed handguns without a permit in South Dakota, advancing a conservative priority that supporters hope will be achieved under new Gov. Kristi Noem’s administration.

The Senate Judiciary Committee voted 4-3 to send the bill to the full chamber. A similar proposal passed the Legislature in 2017 before being vetoed by former Gov. Dennis Daugaard, but Noem offered support for a so-called constitutional carry law during her campaign.

Noem said Lt. Gov. Larry Rhoden met Thursday at her request with gun-rights advocates, law enforcement, community leaders and lawmakers about firearms legislation. The meeting was intended to discuss priorities and how to find agreement by the end of the 2019 session, she said.

“I’ve supported the principle of constitutional carry, and … I’ve talked extensively about that, so we will look at specific language in each of these bills and see where the support is,” Noem said. “I’ve also talked extensively about the fact that it’s important to me that we consult with law enforcement officers … because their role is incredibly important with making sure that we’re protecting people while protecting people’s rights.”

This is a good sign, and an indication that South Dakota residents may soon be able to enjoy their Second Amendment rights without asking for the state’s permission to do so, something they don’t have to do with pretty much any other right.

Opponents of the bill worry that permitless carry will allow some to go about armed who don’t meet the current requirement for a permit, and that’s probably true.

However, it’s important to remember that if they’re criminals, they’re going to carry anyway. Those who might be denied based on their past but who represent no danger today will be denied from exercising their rights despite representing no threat to anyone. In other words, the only people stopped by the permitting process are good people who won’t hurt anyone.

What the law doesn’t do, however, is allow felons to go about armed or anything of the sort.

Frankly, there’s no legitimate reason this shouldn’t be the law, and not just in South Dakota. After all, the arguments are the same in every state of the union.

Instead, the only thing that stops constitutional carry from passing everywhere is political machinations motived by things like fear or greed. Do you think anti-gun politicians in California don’t know that their permitting system isn’t keeping criminals from walking around with guns? Do you think Gov. Andrew Cuomo doesn’t know that there are gang members in his state right this instant standing around on street corners with firearms on their person without permits?

Of course they do. Gun control politicians know what they have isn’t working to do anything except keep law-abiding citizens from getting a permit.

They just don’t care.

At least it looks like lawmakers in South Dakota have more sense than that.