It wouldn't be a South Dakota Legislative Session without lots of talk about guns. We have five bills easing or outright repealing our concealed weapons rules. Three have passed the House.

Awaiting its first hearing is Senate Bill 162, which reads like a version of the unwise and thankfully unused school sentinel law passed in 2013. Senator Brock Greenfield (R-2/Clark) wants legislators to be able to carry concealed weapons "for purposes of deterrence and defense against any violent attack against the Legislature, its members, its staff, and members of the public in attendance of any meeting of the Legislature."

Yes, because there are so many violent attacks on the Capitol in Pierre, and because our legislators are best trained and equipped to respond to crime with deadly force.

Senator Greenfield would create a whole bunch of bureaucracy to allow certain legislators to pack heat in the Capitol. The Attorney General would have to approve each request, and the permit-seeking legislators would have to take firearms training.

SB 162 would also keep the names of the pistol-permitted legislators secret. As I did with the school gunslinger bill, I find such secrecy offensive. If I visit the Capitol, I want to know exactly which legislators are carrying weapons so that I can be alert to the possibility of some legislator going off half-cocked. If Pierre is so dangerous, if our civil institutions have so egregiously failed, that we must allow legislators to carry firearms, they should carry those weapons openly, on their hips, to constantly remind us of the imminent danger all around.

But we elect our legislators to legislate, not play security guard. We pay taxes for qualified law enforcement officials to patrol the Capitol and protect our leaders. We don't need more Capitol gunslingers. Our legislators should all put their guns down and focus on public policy.