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ACLU Sues South Dakota over Concealed Weapons Discrimination

Holy cow! The American Civil Liberties Union is suing South Dakota over our concealed weapons law. No, the ACLU is not trying to take your guns away. They actually want more people to be able to pack hidden heat... including non-citizens:

The ACLU of SD is suing on behalf of Wayne Smith, a lawful permanent resident since 1979 who has lived in the United States for the past 30 years after emigrating from the United Kingdom. Like many locals, Smith enjoys collecting sporting guns and hunting when he's not working or spending time with his wife, a native South Dakotan. Smith was previously granted a concealed weapon permit four times before being denied in July, 2010. The denial of his application was based solely on his residency status, even though he lives and works in this country legally and has never been accused of a weapons violation.

"Discrimination against law-abiding residents for such arbitrary reasons serves no purpose but to advance governmental intrusion into the private lives of all Americans," said Robert Doody, Executive Director of the ACLU of SD. The Fourteenth Amendment which extends to non-citizens as well as citizens generally prohibits states from creating laws that treat people of protected classes differently. "Mr. Smith is a legal resident who has followed all of the laws and guidelines of the state of South Dakota. As such, he is entitled to privacy in his home and equal treatment under the law, since there is no compelling reason why he should be treated differently," says Doody [ACLU-SD, press release, 2011.01.03].

Seriously, if we think self-defense is sufficiently important to permit folks to walk down our streets with concealed weapons, isn't it unneighborly to tell foreign visitors and legal residents like Mr. Smith that they don't get to come equally prepared to all those gun fights that break out in downtown Sioux Falls and Rapid City?

I can't wait to read the National Rifle Association's amicus curiae on this one.

And lest you think the ACLU is stretching, take note: in 2008, they successfully challenged a similar citizenship requirement for concealed weapons permits in Kentucky.