Last week I noted Rep. Jim Stalzer's (R-11/Sioux Falls) insult to college students in defense of his dying guns-on-campus bill on the House floor. Evidently, Rep. Stalzer insulted cops, too:

Mike Walsh, South Dakota’s president of the Fraternal Order of Police, said Rep. Jim Stalzer’s, R-Sioux Falls, comment that concealed weapons carriers are more law-abiding than law enforcement officers was “irresponsible” and “disturbing.”

...Walsh said he challenges any legislator to find a state with fewer law enforcement members who have been discharged from duty or charged with a crime.

Walsh said that during a hearing for House Bill 1206, which would have authorized the concealed carry of pistols on public university campuses under certain circumstances, Stalzer said that calling 911 was like calling “dial a prayer”.

“My first thought was that it’s unprofessional to make statements like that to begin with and to base it on something other than actual real data is irresponsible,” Walsh said. “He’s making comments about law enforcement that are completely unjustified. I think law enforcement in South Dakota deserves an apology from him” [Mark Walker, "Police Group Wants Apology from State Lawmaker," that Sioux Falls paper, 2015.02.25].

Let me check: if students are mad at Stalzer, and if police are mad at Stalzer, it should be pretty easy to beat Stalzer in 2016, right? And Stalzer should be backpedaling, right?

Stalzer, reached by phone Wednesday, said he will not apologize for his comments. He said his argument was based a report from the Crime Prevention Research Center.

“My intention was not to slam police officers, but rather to compare the honesty and integrity of concealed and carry permit holder to police officers,” Stalzer said. “Unless the report is proven false, I don’t think I have anything to apologize for” [Walker, 2015.02.25].

Rep. Stalzer, you pretty much said it all at "I don't think." If a legislator shoots his mouth off with so little regard for his targets, maybe we should hesitate to let him carry a gun.

Also not needing to apologize will be any District 11 candidate who takes out ads against Stalzer saying, "Stalzer says police lack honesty and integrity." Or heck, just shorten that to "Stalzer hates cops." Unless that statement is proven false, you don't have anything to apologize for.

For the record, here is the offending portion of Rep. Stalzer's February 19 floor speech:

This is "Concealed Permit Holders Across the United States" by the Crime Prevention Research Center which was founded by Dr. John Lott. In Florida they have issued 2.6 million permits over 25 years, and tey've had to rescind 168 of them for some kind of a firearms violation. But it's getting better. From January 2008 to May of 2014 they've only had to rvoke four permits out of the almost 900,000 that are currently in effect. Actually in Florida police officers have more firearms violations than concealed carry permit holders.

In Texas there are over 600,000 permits and they've had 120 where there was a conviction of a misdemeanor or a felony, very few of which involved firearms. And with all due respect to our colleague who is a police officer, the crime rate for police officers is higher than the crime rate for concealed carry permit holders.

[Booing is heard in background; Stalzer laughs nervously].

In Texas it's six times higher, and in Florida it's ten times higher. I do not believe our colleague falls in that category [Rep. Jim Stalzer, remarks on House Bill 1206, South Dakota House, 2015.02.19, timestamp 44:23].

The report Stalzer cites comes from gun advocate John Lott, a "perpetual misinformation machine" for the gun lobby. He was exposed over a decade ago as having based a major pro-gun study on error and fraud, but that hasn't stopped the NRA and gun nuts like Rep. Stalzer from providing a market for Lott's product. Media Matters neatly and linkily dismisses Lott's research:

Lott's research on gun issues, including his famous "more guns, less crime" theory, has been discredited in academic circles and he has faced credible accusations of data manipulation and fabrication. He often twists statistics on gun violence in order to advance a pro-gun agenda [links in original; Timothy Johnson, "NRA-Friendly Washington Times Turns To Discredited Gun Researcher John Lott," Media Matters, 2014.10.10].

Another article notes that Lott himself, writing under a pseudonym, once contended that we should completely dismiss the arguments of an academic who engaged in the above behavior. That article then applies that same standard to Lott:

Time and time again Lott has abused his academic credentials to peddle falsehoods. Instead of soberly presenting evidence, and letting the research speak for itself, Lott instead authored his own fan-base, fabricated evidence, manipulated models, mischaracterized data, and then attempted to bulldoze anybody that dared question the authenticity of his research. This is not the behavior of someone who is interested in truth-seeking; it is the behavior of an ideologue who is concerned only with making his opinions as loud and virulent as possible [Evan DeFilippis and Devin Hughes, "Shooting Down the Gun Lobby's Favorite 'Academic': A Lott of Lies," Armed with Reason, 2014.12.01].

You ready to apologize yet, Rep. Stalzer?

The report itself looks like another exercise in cherry-picking. Lott cites Florida concealed weapons permit revocation rates for firearms violations. That's far from the overall crime rate. That's not even the full list of crimes that could provoke revocation of a concealed weapons permit, like domestic abuse or possession of controlled substances.

Lott also cherry-picks dates, looking at Florida police firearms violations from 2005 to 2007 while peddling the concealed weapons permit revocation numbers from 1987 to 2014 and emphasizing those numbers from 2008 to 2014. You can't draw conclusions from differing crime rates over different populations in different eras to guide policy right now.

Comparing firearms violations among police and civilians also seems prone to a fatal statistical flaw. Suppose we were looking at nail gun violations (if there were such a thing). I imagine we would find more nail gun violations (accidental discharge, improperly stowing the device or its ammunition) among carpenters, who carry and use nail guns every day for work, than we would among weekend warriors who have nail guns in their garage but only use them for occasional home improvement projects. Ditto for comparing armed police and concealed weapons permit holders: police have their guns every day, every hour on duty. Concealed weapons permit holders do not train as much and do not carry and handle their weapons as frequently and as openly as police officers.

And like our legislators, forgetful or rebellious concealed weapons permit holders sneak their weapons into gun-free zones unnoticed on a regular basis, but those violations won't appear in Lott's warped statistics or any others.

Interestingly, when the question turns from concealed weapons permits to racism, Lott musters his mathematical legerdemain to dismiss as distortions accusations that police improperly use their weapons. Lott alternately defends and attacks police, as it suits his political agenda. Lott's "reports" should be taken as political propaganda, not as reliable scientific research.

Rep. Jim Stalzer should apologize for disguising his attack on the honesty and integrity on South Dakota's police as objective research. The lack of honesty and integrity is Rep. Stalzer's, and citizens of all stripes (police, students, etc.) should work to remove him from office.

24 comments

The Senate Judiciary Committee looked the National Rifle Association in the eye yesterday and said no... twice.

The NRA sent lobbyist John Commerford from Washington, DC, to lobby for House Bills 1096 and 1116 before Senate Judiciary Tuesday morning. Both bills tinkered with our concealed weapons permit laws; HB 1116 was the worse, effectively repealing the need to obtain a permit to carry a concealed firearm. The NRA supported both bills, and Senate Judiciary rejected both bills. The only votes supporting HB 1096 and HB 1116 came from Senator Jeff Monroe (R-24/Pierre), who has previously laid bare his fearful fealty to his NRA score.

The full Senate struck another blow against gun nuttery yesterday by tabling Senate Bill 192, which would have allowed sergeants-at-arms in the Capitol to carry firearms. Prime sponsor Senator Brock Greenfield (R-2/Clark) wheezed again about his vague terror at our "ever-changing, increasingly volatile world" yet yielded to law enforcement and security professionals and asked the Senate to table his fearful bill. The Senate obliged.

The Legislature has now killed six bills dealing with concealed weapons in their titles (previous dust-biters: HB 1108, HB 1183, HB 1206, and SB 162). Only two concealed weapons bills have survived: HB 1215, creating an enhanced concealed weapons permit, is headed for Senate committee, while the Governor has signed Senate Bill 12, making it easier for military spouses to get concealed weapons permits.

I cheer the Legislature's possibly growing willingness to say no to the NRA. Now how about developing the will to say yes to the NEA? The Legislature seems to have floated more bills to put guns in people's pockets than to put more money in teachers' pockets. Tell me, citizens, which problem seems to be more urgent in South Dakota: the inability of citizens to defend themselves with secretly carried deadly force, or the inability of teachers to make ends meet on South Dakota's barrel-bottom teacher pay?

22 comments

House Bill 1116 goes before Senate Judiciary tomorrow morning alongside House Bill 1096. Both bills revise our concealed weapons permit laws. HB 1096 is the mellower of the two, clarifying how the background check for a concealed weapons permit will be conducted and tightening rules to keep immigrants from getting guns. House Bill 1116 goes much further, essentially declaring the concealed weapons permit superfluous and repealing all laws against walking around with a gun hidden in your britches and bras. HB 1116 includes the further absurdity (Section 7) of removing the restriction on giving concealed weapons permits to people who have violated South Dakota weapons laws.

If a gun bill is nuts, you can bet South Dakota Gun Owners is backing it. I read on Facebook the radical gun advocacy group is cold-calling to rouse support for HB 1116. Another friend forwards this SDGO letter backing HB 1116:

SDGO-HB1106-Feb2015

SDGO letter, Feb 2015, p. 1 (click to embiggen)

SDGO-HB1106-Feb2015-p2

SDGO letter, Feb 2015, p. 2 (click to embiggen)

 

Boy, I hope SDGO's gun aim is better than their rhetorical aim. This February 2015 letter contains three absurdities.

First, SDGO exec Ray Lautenschlager asserts that there is an "anti-gun crowd in Pierre." If there is anyone to whom one might apply this appellation in Pierre, they most certainly do not constitute a "crowd."

Second, Lautenschlager says, "The right to bear arms in self defense is absolutely vital." (Beware absolutes... but then what do we expect from a group whose letterhead boasts, "26 Years Without Compromise"?) "Why should a law-abiding citizen first ask permission from the government in order to defend themselves or their family?"

Two points off for failure of number agreement (a citizen... themselves or their family). Ten points off for misstating a question of law: No law-abiding citizens have to ask permission from the government in order to defend themselves or their families. If someone attacks my family, I can throw a punch, throw rocks, or throw my car into gear and get away very quickly. I can call the cops and my lawyer for proper civil protection. I can keep a gun in my house and even walk around town with my gun on my hip if that's what I think it takes to defend my family, all without government's permission.

What I can't do without a permit is sneak my gun into public spaces. When we turned to concealed weapons, we are no longer talking about an absolute right to self-defense. We are talking about surreptitious behavior with a deadly weapon amidst unsuspecting neighbors. If you crave that hazardous privilege, the state can make a case that it has a public interest in imposing the minimal intrusion, less than what we impose on folks driving cars on public roads, of asking you to pay a fee and get a permit so we have a chance to check your background.

Rephrasing Luke 22:36 for the well-armed generation. Click to debunk!

Rephrasing Luke 22:36 for the well-armed generation. Click to debunk!

Third, SDGO claims that HB 1116 will "restore the God-given rights of law-abiding South Dakotans to bear arms...."

I don't need to consult my Reverend wife to know that Jesus handed out bread and wine, not guns and ammo, at the Last Supper.

Rep. Dan Kaiser (R-3/Aberdeen), a co-sponsor of HB 1116, committed the same constitutional and theological errors in comments at Saturday's Aberdeen crackerbarrel:

Right now, you can legally open carry anywhere in South Dakota, so all of a sudden it’s illegal if your sport coat is over your pistol. The Second Amendment is clear — you have a right to bear and carry arms. I don’t understand how you can outline rights given to you by God and then you have to ask permission from the state to exercise those rights [Rep. Dan Kaiser, statement at crackerbarrel, reported by Bryan Howarth, "Lawmakers Debate Guns, Common Core," Aberdeen American News, 2015.02.22].

The right to bear arms exists in the national constitutions of three countries. Ours comes from a Bill of Rights written 226 years ago. It is far form a divine commandment.

The Second Amendment, like every other amendment, is not absolute. Nor is it Scripture. South Dakota Gun Owners should knock off their misrepresentations, and the South Dakota Legislature should leave our concealed weapons permitting process in place.

71 comments

The South Dakota House showed a little common sense yesterday and killed House Bill 1206, which would have allowed individuals to carry concealed weapons on our public university campuses. But some Republicans couldn't let that happen without exposing their contempt for the university students from across the state who admirably mobilized, testified, and lobbied to kill this bill. Young voters, pay attention.

Rep. Scott Craig (R-33/Rapid City) rose to speak to the dying bill (around timestamp 1:09:30 in the SDPB audio). He said he could be inclined to vote against the bill, just because he thinks most college kids—not the righteous, upstanding youth whom he thinks would carry guns on campus, but all the rest of the kids—are drunk rapists:

I wish I saw an irate student body, the representatives of the student bodies in all of our universities and colleges, I wish they were irate about what is killing, not about what might or what could, which I think is a real stretch, but what is killing their peers right now. The date rape is just nuts. We have an out-of-control culture, period, and a big part of that is seen in a four-year party.

I am very concerned about that. Now I am not so concerned about students carrying guns on campus, given who I believe those students would be. At the same time, my concern about the current system, just the culture of college, it is a bar, in many respects it is like a bar, and it is against the law to bring a gun to a bar.

I voted yes for this in committee. I just might vote no on it simply because our young folks are out of control. There's a lot of drinking, and it's like bringing guns to a bar when you go to college [Rep. Scott Craig, floor debate on HB 1206, South Dakota House, Pierre, South Dakota, 2015.02.19].

Rep. Craig did vote to let students bring concealed weapons to their drunken four-year party.

HB 1206 sponsor Rep. Jim Stalzer (R-11/Sioux Falls) followed with his closing remarks. He said a fair amount of rot, but none more rotten than this blatant insult:

When I was in college, I actually had to go to class. I don't know how all these people are here today [Rep. Jim Stalzer, floor debate on HB 1206, South Dakota House, Pierre, South Dakota, 2015.02.19].

Rep. Stalzer chortled at his own comment, as did several of his colleagues. Stalzer and friends are laughing at you, students. They are ridiculing your effort to participate in the political process. They are ridiculing the sacrifice you made to miss class, drive three hours in the middle of winter, and try to persuade a bunch of people who apparently don't respect you to still vote in the interests of public safety on your campuses. They are ridiculing you, students, for daring to use your voice.

Young people, Republicans like Craig and Stalzer need to go. You need to remember these speeches made on the floor of the South Dakota House. You need to come out en masse to vote in 2016 and vote these men out of office.

p.s.: I remind you, students: every Democrat in the House voted against HB 1206. We Democrats don't talk about students that way. We Democrats respect your voice.

69 comments

In gun news, while deferring action on House Bill 1206, the controversial concealed-weapons-on-campus bill, the South Dakota House rejected House Bill 1183, which would have allowed concealed weapons in the State Capitol.

During floor debate on HB 1183, Rep. Lana Greenfield (R-2/Doland) told a startling story that she said crystallized her feelings on guns and this bill. She said that, back in the 1970s, when she had taken a new teaching job, a student told her that, during a family visit to the Capitol one summer Sunday, he and his family had been taken captive by a man with a knife. She said a former Capitol employee later told her he remembered that incident.

It appears Rep. Greenfield was referring to this 1975 incident:

On October 26, 1975, the Glenn Arneson family of Hayti, South Dakota, visited the State Capitol at Pierre. While touring the Capitol Building, Mr. and Mrs. Arneson and their youngest child were confronted in an open hallway on the fourth floor by petitioner [Romeo Tony Eaglehorse] and another man, Robert Stein. After asking the Arnesons if there were any other people in the building, petitioner pulled a knife and demanded money from them. Mr. Arneson complied, giving him $20.00. Petitioner then demanded that the Arnesons gather the rest of their family, including two other children who had run ahead, and forced them at knife point to a secluded room on fourth floor, blocking the only exit from that room. Petitioner again demanded money, ordering the Arnesons to place all their money on a table. Petitioner then proceeded to torment the members of the family, starting with the youngest child, an eight-year-old girl. He picked her up by the hair, held the knife to her throat, and demanded that she give him her money. After demanding photos of the family, petitioner threatened to kill them if they ever informed the authorities of what had happened. Petitioner continued to torment the family by holding the knife to Mr. Arneson's *330 neck and asking the rest of the family if they would like to watch him die. Petitioner told the Arnesons that he, petitioner, was a killer, and forced the parents to drink vodka from a bottle with him. He also threatened to cut the eight-year-old girl's eyes out with his knife. After leaving for a few minutes, petitioner returned and grabbed Mrs. Arneson. At this time Mr. Arneson was able to strike petitioner with the vodka bottle, allowing the family to run to safety. All told, the Arnesons were held in the room at knife point for from forty-five minutes to an hour after Mr. Arneson first gave petitioner the $20.00 in the hallway [Eaglehorse v. South Dakota, 1979].

Now Rep. Greenfield didn't connect the dots for us. She didn't explain how this incident of crime 40 years ago justifies allowing us to walk around our Temple of Democracy and Civilization with firearms tucked in our britches. The point of her anecdote seemed to be simply to arouse fear.

One violent crime forty years ago. Hmmm... sounds to me as if the Capitol Building is one of the safest places a person could be.

But let's look at the incident Rep. Greenfield cited in the context of the bill she was advocating. The Arnesons were on a family visit. They likely did not anticipate trouble. There is no indication that Mr. Arneson or his wife held concealed weapons permits or had said on their way into the building, "There might be danger here, but the law says we have to leave our guns in the car."

Had HB 1183 been in effect, would the Arnesons have been armed? Had they been concealedly armed (which is what HB 1183 envisions), would Eaglehorse not have pulled that knife? When Eaglehorse pulled the knife, would Mr. or Mrs. Arneson have been able to execute a quick draw before Eaglehorse could do harm?

And would the presence of a gun have produced any different result from what really happened: Mr. Arneson grabs the vodka bottle, whacks the bad guy, and gets his family out to safety. No one but the bad guy is hurt, and the authorities arrest Eaglehorse and Stein, without shooting anyone.

Your story is plenty scary, Rep. Greenfield, but you failed to explain how it logically defends the policy position you advocated. Fortunately, this time, faulty logic and faulty gun policy did not prevail in the Legislature.

52 comments

The Student Federation, representing elected student governments from all of South Dakota's public universities, is seeing some success for the bills for which it lobbied during Higher Education Days last week.

  • Senate Bill 91, funding for the Regental needs-based scholarship, is still alive, although Senate Appropriations had to wipe out the specific dollar figure to keep the bill in play.
  • Ditto for Senate Bill 92, funding for the critical teaching needs scholarship.
  • House Bill 1147, the Governor's proposal to increase the Opportunity Scholarship from $5,000 to $6,500, made it out of House Appropriations intact. The bill doesn't mention the $1.274 million that increase will cost; legislators can vote for it and let the scholarship default to the statutory prorated amount if existing funding can't support the new maximum amount.
  • I'm not sure how the tuition freeze is faring; Senate Bill 181 appears to have been lost in the shuffle in Thursday's Senate Appropriations hearing.

The Legislature is flatly ignoring the testimony of the Student Federation on House Bill 1206, which would allow students 21 and older to carry concealed weapons on campus. Most students agree that school is no place for guns. The gun-tooting (if no -toting?) members of House Local Government voted 8–5 to say sure, let's open the door to guns at our universities. (Augustana, Dakota Wesleyan, stay gun-free, and you have a recruiting pitch to make here.) Northern State University's Student Association sent out this call to action, not arms, to its campus Friday:

Despite strong testimony from the Board of Regents and the South Dakota Student Federation, the House Local Governance [sic] Committee passed House Bill 1206, which would allow the concealed carry of pistols on public university campuses. As NSU Student Association we voted unanimously to oppose this bill, as it takes away the local control from the Board of Regents and the individual universities. The presence of guns around heated discussions and alcohol will lead to tragic consequences. Please contact your legislators to oppose this bill.... [G]uns should not be present in our classrooms, student center, or anywhere else on campus [Menno Schukking, NSU Student Association Vice President, e-mail to Northern State University campus community, 2015.02.13].

The Florida, Texas, and Montana legislatures are advancing similar campus-concealed-carry bills. Speaking to the Florida bill, Daniel W. Webster of the Johns Hopkins University for Gun Policy and Research says allowing more guns on campus will lead to more gun violence:

“The bill is obviously based on the idea that a) college students are sitting ducks for individuals who carry out mass shootings on college campuses because campuses are “gun free zones” and b) good guys or gals with guns can save themselves and others by taking out the shooters,” Webster says in an e-mail statement.

In reality, he says, those instances are extremely rare, and college campuses — where students are almost constantly surrounded by stressors, violent behavior and substance abuse, along with the development of schizophrenia or other mental disorders — aren’t the place to house lethal weapons.

Webster also says that in cases of a potentially lethal attack, students are just as likely to shoot innocent bystanders in the melee of a shoot-off as they are to shoot the attacker, as is sometimes the case even with trained police officers.

More importantly, an “across-the-board” law like SB 0176 would prevent students from being able to make a decision about whether or not to attend a school where concealed guns are legal.

“Very few academics or academic administrators want students carrying concealed firearms on campus and most strongly oppose such policies,” Webster says.

“The best research on the impact of so-called Right-to-Carry laws has shown that the policies do not deter violent crime but simply lead to more gun violence. I have no reason to believe that this finding wouldn’t hold for the college campus environment” [Morgan baskin, "Florida State Senate to Vote on Concealed Carry Weapons Bill," USA Today, 2015.02.13].

Idaho lifted the ban on concealed weapons on its university campuses in 2014. In response, the Idaho university system is now spending $3.7 million to beef up security, with no additional funding from the state government that imposed these costs.

$3.7 million—that would pay for the increases in all three scholarships and half of the tuition freeze South Dakota's Student Federation advocates. Instead, South Dakota's House Local Government Committee would rather make them pay for an increased security risk, just to maintain legislators' NRA ratings.

Bonus Wishful Thinking Over Facts: In Thursday's House Local Government hearing, Rep. Lee Qualm repeated the cliché, "The only way to get rid of a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun."

Brian Roesler, the man who stopped the workplace shooting in Lennox Thursday, ran right at the shooter and tackled him. Roesler did not have a gun.

103 comments

During the Senate Judiciary hearing on Senate Bill 162 Thursday, Senator Brock Greenfield (R-2/Clark) said he had patterned his plan to arm certain legislators to play security guard after the 2013 school gunslinger bill. Then-Rep. Greenfield thought it was a good idea to distract teachers and put students at risk by bringing more guns to school, so why not apply the same logic to the Capitol?

Senator Greenfield's effort to link his Capitol gunslinger bill to the school gunslinger (sorry—we're supposed to call them sentinels) bill inspired Senator Troy Heinert (D-26A/Mission) to ask a logical question:

Sen. Heinert to Greenfield: "Senator, do you know how many schools have used the school sentinel bill?"

Greenfield: "No, and I don't believe that information would be publicly available because of the confidentiality—er, Mr. Tieszen*, I saw three fingers sticking up."

Dick Tieszen, lobbyist, in audience: "No, that is a zero."

Greenfield: "Oh. Zero."

Chairman Craig Tieszen: "Senator Heinert?"

Heinert: "I do believe the answer is zero" [Senate Judiciary Committee hearing, South Dakota Legislature, Pierre, SD, 2015.02.12, timestamp 34:40].

After a question about current security measures in the Capitol, Senator Jeff Monroe (R-24/Pierre) contradicted Senator Heinert's and Dick Tieszen's statements that no one is using the school sentinel program:

Sen. Monroe: "The answer to the question, are any schools— have any schools enacted the sentinel bill, the answer is not zero, and for the confidentiality again, I'm not going to tell who. I just wanted to clear that up. That's all I had, Mr. Chairman."

Sen. Tieszen: "Senator Heinert?"

Heinert: "I'm not here to debate the good Senator from Pierre, but the answer is zero."

Sen. Tieszen: "All right, the debate stops. This is question time to start with. If you have a question, direct it to someone who testified. If not, we'll—discussion in a moment" [Senate Judiciary, 2015.02.12, timestamp 36:10].

Do some schools have sentinel gunslingers roaming their halls? And do confidentiality prevent them from telling us about that lurking danger to our children?

The answers, Mr. Chairman, are no and no. In reverse order:

Back in 2013, House Education amended the school gunslinger bill to keep discussion and implementation of the program secret in each school. Senate State Affairs quite sensibly eliminated that secrecy clause, thus requiring the House to vote on that bill again. Then-Rep. Greenfield cast an aye on that concurrence vote; had he cast an eye, he'd have known he was voting for a law that contains no confidentiality clause. Review SDCL 13–64, ARSD 2:01:15 and ARSD 2:01:16, the chapter and rules enacting and managing the school sentinel program, and you will not find a single clause saying that schools shall or may keep their use of the school sentinel provisions secret. Part of the 2013 bill, now SDCL 13-64-7 (you read this when you voted on it, right, Brock?), allows school district residents to refer implementation of the school sentinel program to a public vote, meaning the decision to implement is necessarily public.

That means that when I call a school district and say, "Got school sentinels?" they have to tell me. When I call the Attorney General's office to ask whether any schools have submitted applicants for school sentinel training and whether any applicants have taken and passed that training, the Attorney General's office can tell me numbers and maybe even names.

But the only number the Attorney General's office has is zero. I called yesterday, and spokesperson Sara Rabern confirmed that, since the enactment of training and certification rules on September 17, 2013, no schools have submitted applications, no school staff have come to Pierre for training, and no teachers or janitors or other school personnel are currently roaming our school halls as certified school sentinels. This fact is consistent with previous reports of skepticism and widespread condemnation of the school gunslinger program among school officials, as well as concerns that arming school staff would cause schools to lose their liability insurance.

I have contacted Senator Monroe to ask where he got his information to the contrary. I await his response.

Update 2015.02.15 11:18 CST: I originally reported, based on my listening to the SDPB audio of the hearing, that Senator Craig Tieszen had made the "zero" hand gesture and made the comment "No, that is a zero." Senator Tieszen informs us (see below in comment section) that that gesture and comment came not from him but from lobbyist Dick Tieszen, who was in the audience at the hearing. I have amended the above text to reflect Senator Tieszen's clarification, and I apologize for the error.

57 comments

Senator Jeff Monroe (R-24/Pierre) made crystal clear what all the guns bills in South Dakota's Legislature are really about. The Pierre Senator opened his commentary on Senate Bill 162, the Capitol gunslinger bill, with this statement:

I can see both sides of this, I could vote both ways, one to keep my rating, and the other to try to keep things with the way the state patrol goes [Senator Jeff Monroe, Senate Judiciary Committee hearing, South Dakota Legislature, 2015.02.12, timestamp 44:18].

Keep my rating—as in NRA rating. Senator Monroe cast the sole vote in favor of SB 162, indicating that for him, keeping his NRA rating up is more important than listening to the expert security assessment of the South Dakota Highway Patrol. Senator Monroe places your physical safety behind his electoral safety.

Alas, even those sensible enough to vote against such bad legislation feel the need to ply the NRA line. Freshman Senator Art Rusch (R-17/Vermillion) opened his speech on SB 162 by saying that he is not anti-gun, that he has a concealed weapons permit, and that he has had gun training. Senator Troy Heinert (D-26A/Mission) prefaced his remarks similarly: "I too am a gun owner, have a permit for concealed carry, but I also signed up to legislate." Senator Mike Vehle (R-20/Mitchell) didn't mention his gun ownership during his initial, intelligent critique of SB 162, but after Senator Monroe's NRA reminder, Senator Vehle returned to the mic with this hasty addendum:

I just wanted to add that I'm not anti-gun. I own a lot of guns, and I have a concealed carry permit, so I am—that was not my point, if anyone wants to think of that. I just wanted to make that clear [Senator Mike Vehle, Senate Judiciary Committee hearing, South Dakota Legislature, 2015.02.12, timestamp 45:26].

Sorry, Mike, Troy, Art—you voted against a gun bill. Someday, someone in a primary is going to point to that big nasty minus next to your NRA A. Woe unto thee for trying exercise good sense!

18 comments

Support Your Local Blogger!

  • Click the Tip Jar to send your donation to the Madville Times via PayPal, and support local alternative news and commentary!

South Dakota Political Blogs

Greater SD Blogosphere

SD Mostly Political Mix

Greater SD Blogosphere

  • Idle Hands Dep't
    A Little Saturday Nite Bluegrass: Steve Martin and the Steep Canyon Rangers with the official video of Caroline, from "The Long Awaited Album."Steve Martin - Banjo and himself.Steep Canyon Rangers: Woody Platt - Guitar, Grah…
    2017.11.18

  • Rant-a-Bit by Scott Hudson
    That Time David Cassidy Called Me From Rehab: A few minutes ago I saw the news stories about David Cassidy being in critical condition with organ failure. It made me think back to that crazy interview he gave me a few years ago, and I thought it…
    2017.11.18

  • Mark Haugen
    I saw it in color and loved it: Wifey and I attended the Jamey Johnson concert last night at the Deadwood Mountain Grand. We both loved it.I'm not very good at writing reviews but do it anyway.Johnson didn't talk much, jus…
    2017.11.18

  • SleuthSayers
    A Book and a Movie: by John M. FloydFor my post today, I'm making two recommendations: one for a novel I recently read and one for a movie I recently watched. Neither one is a traditional mystery, but both qualify a…
    2017.11.17

  • LivingNonviolence
    : Perhaps it was a Hint of HopeRabbi Victor H. Reinstein          There was something different to me in the tone of a recent Black Lives Matter vigil. Something seemed different in the surrounding atmo…
    2017.11.17

  • Allie MaeLynn
    Day 13: Opportunities #GIG2017: Regardless of what school-type environment you’re in, you’re automatically exposed to others doing great things, accomplishing so much for themselves, and it can feel overwhelming to then look at your…
    2017.11.17

  • OMG Center » Blog
    Changing the EmPHAsis on the SylLABles of the Lord’s Prayer: (The below was a Facebook post I wrote this morning before church.  It seems to have resonated with enough people that I decided to repost it here as a blog.  Peace.)…
    2017.11.12

  • Eggs & Sausage
    Jesus out on Highway 14Brookings Township, SD: Jesus out on Highway 14Brookings Township, SD…
    2017.10.30

  • A Progressive on the Prairie
    Weekend Edition: 10-28: Interesting Reading in the Interweb Tubez “No Fatties”: When Health Care Hurts (“According to the National Association to Advance Fat Acceptance, one out of three doctors responds to obesity negativel…
    2017.10.28

  • A Teacher's Writes
    Missing the Point of the Flux Capacitor: In my AP English composition and language classes, we’re studying They Say, I Say, and my students are responding to a columnist or opinion writer as a way of practicing the skills we’re learning. Thi…
    2017.10.27

Madville Monthly

Meta