One moment Rep. Charlie Hoffman is crazy; the next moment he talks perfect sense. Rep. Don Kopp and some of his colleagues want to give pistol packers a pass by making carrying a concealed weapon without a permit a secondary offense. One would expect rootin'-tootin' Republican Rep. Hoffman to love Rep. Kopp's HB 1015; however, Mr. Mercer reports that Rep. Hoffman has identified a possible fatal flaw in the bill: it could allow mentally insane people to carry concealed weapons.

Mercer says Rep. Hoffman suggests HB 1015 is unnecessary, given that South Dakota already has some of the loosest concealed-weapon laws in the nation. Rep. Hoffman also suggests that HB 1015 may be just more fodder for the "conservative scorecards" being used by certain right-wing agitators to accuse much of the Republican party of ideological impurity. Indeed, the bill's sponsors include Rep. Stace Nelson and Rep. Betty Olson, two of the highest scorers on the three conservative scorecards issued last year (see the John Birch Freedom Index, the report, and the Gordon Howie exercise in inaccuracy). Rep. Hoffman, who is far too conservative for my taste, scored 50% or less on all three conservative ratings.