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Kopp Gun Bill Removes Check on Mentally Ill Carrying Concealed Weapons

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.


  1. Taunia 2012.01.17

    If adjudicated mentally incompetent, someone cannot own a firearm or get a concealed carry permit under Federal law (Fed Gun Control Act, 1968), no matter what a state legislature says.

  2. Taunia 2012.01.17

    I think South Dakotans should relax all gun laws, within federal guidelines/laws, and buy all the guns and ammo possible, and as soon as possible.

    You know it's a great big old scary "take-your-guns-away" conspiracy when President Obama is not taking your guns away, restricting your gun ownership rights, or something that even remotely smells like it. It's scary, the inaction. My bells and whistles are going off just typing this.

  3. Nick Nemec 2012.01.17

    Ahhh Taunia, I can't tell if you are serious or making an attempt at eye winking snark. President Obama isn't taking our guns away this inaction proves he wants to take our guns away. Please clarify for this simple irony challenged dirt farmer.

  4. owen 2012.01.17

    This is the dumbest bill.

  5. Taunia 2012.01.17

    NRA's "LaPierre’s iron-clad logic is that Obama’s failure to take any action against gun owners in his first term means he is conspiring to launch an all-out assault on their rights in his second term."

    Unbridled snark, Mr. Nemec. But, you did make my day. I fail miserably at impersonating a Republican.

  6. Nick Nemec 2012.01.17

    Thirty years ago my uncles and aunts made the difficult decision to take away the car keys from my 80 something grandfather. That old German was mad as hell, swearing at anyone within the range of his voice that they were treating him unfairly. Unbeknownst to the family Grandpa went down to the local gun shop and attempted to buy a handgun. He filled out the required paperwork and the shop owner forwarded it to the sheriff, while Gramps might have technically qualified for a permit but the sheriff smelled a rat and called my uncle. Uncle explained the situation to the sheriff and begged him not to approve a permit. The sheriff put Gramps off for a few weeks and eventually Gramps dropped the whole thing.

    Was a tragedy avoided? Possibly, there is no way to know for sure, but I do know that an eighty something feeble old man living at home with his wife didn't need a handgun. I'm glad that the system put a few low hurdles in the way and a smart sheriff had the good sense to call a family member.

  7. Steve Sibson 2012.01.17

    'You know it’s a great big old scary “take-your-guns-away" conspiracy'

    You know it’s a great big old scary "law-abinding citizens-with-guns" consipiracy that they will murder us.

  8. Taunia 2012.01.17

    It's also a great big old scary "free speech even to those riding one trick ponies" conspiracy that makes us suffer through...well, the same response day after day after day.

  9. Bill Fleming 2012.01.17

    Do they have a check on "crazy" on the current permit? Something tells me our buddy Charlie's fears have perhaps already been realized. But I applaud him for noticing the (potential?) problem.

  10. larry kurtz 2012.01.17

    Good morning, South Dakota:

    "Some residents walk around with handguns strapped to their sides, saying that they’ve been shot at or had rifles pointed at them. Law enforcement officials won’t confirm whether flesh or a skull was included in the partially buried bags. But picture this: Crites was 5-foot-10, and about 200 pounds. Would his body fit inside two lawn-and-leaf bags?"

  11. Steve Sibson 2012.01.17

    Taunia & Bill,

    Not sure if it is funny or said to see the reaction of critical thinkers when faced with reality.

  12. Steve Sibson 2012.01.17

    said should be "very sad"

  13. Stace Nelson 2012.01.17

    Since "crazy" people are not supposedly allowed to purchase weapons via the 3 -day waiting period, they should not have one to carry concealed; however, if they do manage to get their hands on one, I doubt they will worry that they do not have a concealed weapons permit to carry it concealed.

  14. Bill Fleming 2012.01.17

    Stace, as you might guess, I have a broad definition of what constitutes "crazy." Less obvious to you perhaps is that I am also a big fan of the Second Amendment. Call me crazy, but I think it means exactly what it says, and am in general, opposed to any infringements as per the language of the amendment. That said, I don't own any weapons and don't intend to. But that's not the point.

  15. Jana 2012.01.17

    Does anyone else suspect that Kopp's bill is just going through the motions to serve as a vote to include in the "Conservative Purity Test" ratings that will come out soon after the legislature adjourns?

  16. WayneB 2012.01.17

    I have a personal dog in this fight.

    While going to college, my fiancee cheated on me and left me for another guy. I wasn't handling it the best. USD's student services didn't really want to invest the time in actually helping me, so they had me voluntarily check in to Yankton's behavioral health.... without telling me the consequences.

    It turns out, you don't have to be adjudicated a danger to yourself or others... just having a record showing you were in Yankton is enough to make it so a county sheriff won't issue a conceal & carry.

    As a result, I have been punished for seeking help. I have had to explain to employers some of my deepest personal secrets because it comes up in background checks. I have to worry if I'm properly transporting firearms when I go hunting. I can't visit my friends in Rapid City and purchase a firearm because of the waiting period (the conceal carry negates that).

    Moreover, there's no appeals process that allows me to get that tidbit of information expunged. If I had committed a crime, I could at least ask for a pardon.

    In all other respects, I have been an outstanding citizen. I vote, I volunteer, I hold an outstanding job and function well in society... but the one time I needed help, not only did I not receive the care I needed, but I'll pay for my ignorance and the incompetence of staff for the rest of my life.

    I'm all behind this bill. There's no reason people who seek the help of the state in good faith should be punished for it.

  17. Troy Jones 2012.01.17

    The gun control nuts and the gun rights nuts have made our gun laws nutty.

    For instance, I think it is nutty we can no longer hang our guns in our windows of our pickups. Isn't it better people can see my gun? Or, if I want to carry a pistol in my glove box for whatever reason, I can be accused of carrying a concealed weapon?

    I used to carry a gun in my deal between the seats of my truck when I lived in the country. I did it for one reason: Sometimes coming home I'd see a skunk/coon during lighted hours which indicates probably rabies. I have dogs. When I saw such animals, I'd stop and unload my clip hoping to kill the animal. However, if I was stopped by a police officer to stay in compliance with the law, I shouldn't have the gun in storage where it is safe but on my seat. Crazy.

    The gun control nuts essentially pass laws that encourage only those who desire to break the law to have guns in their cars.

    On the other hand, gun rights nuts think my right to carry a gun means I can hide it on my person. If I want to carry a gun, I have no problem putting it in a holster for everyone to see. If I want to hide it, I think it reasonable to demonstrate to the chief law enforcement official in my county (who can best assess my stability and risk to others). I don't think it is an unreasonable expectation that people either see I'm exercising my gun rights or know those who hide it are not likely to do crazy things.

  18. Ed Randazzo 2012.01.17

    I don't concern myself as much about "crazy" people (don't know who is defining "crazy" either, but I suspect it's anybody that disagrees with you progressive liberals) as much as I worry about writers that make "under-the-radar" remarks (no facts furnished) that are not even germaine to the issue at hand. Cory, if you have proof that any of the conservative scorecards are "inaccurate," let's have it.
    The point of Constitutional Carry is to affirm that no government has the power to take away any of our rights as guaranteed in the US Constitution. Your "messiah" has publicly stated that he will work "under-the-radar" to affect gun control. One way would be the incremental limitation and regulation of our 2nd Amendment rights. HB1015 sends the message loud and clear to Washington that it wont be received well here.

    [CAH: Ed, I pretty much refuted the validity of Gordon Howie's scorecard when it came out.]

  19. Jana 2012.01.17

    You can add Kirkeby and Venner's drug test bill to the ALEC inspired and written purity test votes.

  20. Bill Fleming 2012.01.17

    Ed R., do you hear what is being said here? To the degree that these bills are being introduced for some meaningful purpose, people on both sides are willing to give them thought and consideration. But to the degree they are being written to divide us politically and serve as some kind of litmus test, they are dishonest and manipulative on their face aren't they?

  21. mike 2012.01.17

    I don't think it would change the laws much. Ammend the law so crazy people can't own or conceal a gun.

    If a crazy person wants to conceal a gun they obviously can and may or may not get caught. I mean we have speed limits and Noem chose not to follow them so why would a crazy person follow gun laws?

    Isn't the definition of crazy or menatlly unstable that they don't care about the law? Or maybe they just don't realize it applies to them.

    I have a pistol permit and never use it or the pistol. I'd be uncomfortable if I was carrying it in public. But if I pass a background check when I buy the gun it isn't like I passed anything particular in order to conceal my weapon.

  22. mike 2012.01.17

    Can I just come out and say Charlie Hoffman is crazy? I mean have you talked to the guy? Does birtherism count as CRAZY?

    Must depend on your definition of crazy.

    [CAH: Mike, as I noted above, Charlie's crazy seems to come and go. There must be a method to his madness.]

  23. Owen Reitzel 2012.01.17

    my son is in law enforcement and is totally against. He said you really don't need it. You can carry a gun in a vehicle legally now as long as its not concealed.
    So why is this law needed?
    Second admendment right? I don't think so. I believe that if the founding fathers could see what's going on todaqy they would rewrite it and clarify the admendment.

  24. Steve Sibson 2012.01.17

    "Does anyone else suspect that Kopp’s bill is just going through the motions to serve as a vote to include in the “Conservative Purity Test” ratings that will come out soon after the legislature adjourns?"

    I have been waiting for Fleming to charge you with being a paranoid conspiracy theorist.

  25. Steve Sibson 2012.01.17

    "it could allow mentally insane people to carry concealed weapons"

    Cory, have you done a survey on the mentally ill? Do they not carry heat because they know they have to get a permit first?

  26. Bill Fleming 2012.01.17

    Suffice it to say, Sibby that neither Jana nor I are worried about passing any Conservative Purity tests. Plus the fact that the right-wing goofballs are irresponsibly drumming up all kinds of ridiculous legislation just to clog up the workings of government is widely known. No theory there, just the facts.

  27. Jana 2012.01.17

    Ed, so you are just sure of Obama seeking to undermine your 2nd amendment rights...what has he done regarding gun rights since he was elected by the majority of Americans? I'm pretty sure that you know the answer. If not let me refresh your memory from this NY Times article:

    "Obama actually increased gun rights, signing a bill with a rider that allows people to pack loaded and concealed heat in national parks. Even after the slaughter in Tucson in January of 2011, when six people were killed and 13 wounded, including Representative Gabrielle Giffords, in a madman’s spree, Obama did nothing to keep guns out of the hands of those at the margins of sanity."


    "But there’s no serious case that President Obama is trying to take people’s guns. Guess what grade the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence gave Obama after one year in office? He got an “F” for his gun stance, or lack of same. This after the N.R.A. predicted that he would be the most anti-gun president in history."

    - snip -

    "Left with nothing to fear but imaginary fear itself, the gun nuts are in a terrible rut. They need scary opposition in order to flourish. They need someone to hate. They need conspiracies. And, as always, they need donations. "

    It's a good piece Ed, but go read it on someone else's computer just in case they put your laptop through a purity test.

  28. Stace Nelson 2012.01.17

    @Owen Curious what your son based his opinion that a law abiding citizen does not need the right conceal carry? Does that opinion apply also to himself and other law enforcement members?

    @Troy Some of it is personal preference and tactical awareness. When you carry openly, if someone wishes you harm, they know where to attack to disarm you. Some people do not want the attention that carrying openly brings.

    Law enforcement CANNOT ensure the safety of the public at all times. Law enforcement personnel carry predominantly for their own protection.

    Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar folks. My support is as simple as I support law abiding citizen's rights to carry and not have to pay a fee to do so.

  29. larry kurtz 2012.01.17

    Have you had a psych eval lately, Rep. Nelson? If you were the federal reviewer would you issue you a permit?

  30. larry kurtz 2012.01.17

    Is post-traumatic stress disorder a disqualifying mental illness for a conceal carry permit, Rep. Nelson?

  31. larry kurtz 2012.01.17

    "Psychotherapy with law enforcement and emergency services personnel entails its share of frustration as well as satisfaction.

    A certain flexibility is called for in adapting traditional
    psychotherapeutic models and techniques for use with this group and clinical work frequently requires both firm professional grounding and "seat-of-the-pants" maneuverability.

    Incomplete closures and partial successes are to be expected, but in a few instances, the impact of successful
    intervention can have profound effects on morale and job effectiveness that may be felt department-wide.

    Working with these "tough guys" takes skill, dedication, and sometimes a strong stomach, but for mental health clinicians who are not afraid to tough it out themselves, this can be a fascinating and rewarding area of clinical practice."

    In other words: LEO's are crazier than the public at large.

  32. larry kurtz 2012.01.17

    Arizona's lax gun laws created Jared Loughner, a self-proclaimed sovereign citizen, the philosophical basis for the scorecards set forth by the JBS wing of SDGOP.

  33. Steve Sibson 2012.01.17

    "Plus the fact that the right-wing goofballs are irresponsibly drumming up all kinds of ridiculous legislation just to clog up the workings of government is widely known."

    So the paranoid Bill Fleming comes out of the closet with a conspiracy theory of his own. Ha Ha!

  34. Bill Fleming 2012.01.18

    Chances are, if one were of a mind, s/he could find more statictical evidence to prove that more people using drugs commit crimes using guns than do people using drugs abuse the priviledge of receiving welfare assistance, Cory.

    Perhaps the geniuses coming up with these discriminatory bills should combine them and insist on mandatory sobriety testing before one can obtain welfare assistance or buy guns.

    Check them often. All of them. Everybody.

    If a guy comes in to buy ammo or a gun, make him take a pee test first.

    If he's drunk and drove to the gun store, lock the sucker up (and take away his food stamps if he has any coming).

    You know, Sibby, this totalitarian trip could get kind of fun actually.

    Hey, if you can't beat 'em join 'em, right?

  35. Owen Reitzel 2012.01.18

    "@Owen Curious what your son based his opinion that a law abiding citizen does not need the right conceal carry? Does that opinion apply also to himself and other law enforcement members? "

    So Stace are you saying that people have the right to carry a concealed weapon? Where does it say that in the second admendment? Of course law enforcement aren't going to be for this.
    The opinion would be his own of course. I would guess that he talked to his fellow officers

  36. Nick Nemec 2012.01.18

    Or no abortions unless the mother has a concealed carry permit. No means no, right?

  37. Steve Sibson 2012.01.18

    "before one can obtain welfare assistance or buy guns."

    Bill, using a strawman again. The Second Amendment provides a right to defend against the sin of murder, welfare is about taking away another's property rights through the sin of coveting. Need to brush up on your critical thinking.

  38. Stace Nelson 2012.01.18

    @Owen Yes, I am saying a law abiding citizen has the right to carry concealed. It actually says so very clearly in the 9th Amendment. Law Enforcement is for this, just ask any of them if they are for their ability to carry a firearm, concealed or otherwise, for their personal safety.

    Even as a cop, back-up is never close enough to ensure the safety of every police officer, let alone the response time to the general public.

  39. Bill Fleming 2012.01.18

    People have expressed, legal rights to public assistance, Steve. You are the on who is trying to take those property rights away. And it's extremely unChristian of you. It not only voilates Jesus's render to Caesar commantment, but also the whole Sermon on the Mount and the Love commandments. You need to brush up on your Christianity.

  40. Owen Reitzel 2012.01.18

    Ok Stace the 9th admendment
    "The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people."

    Now where does it say anything about having the right to carry a concealed weapon?

    Here's a link with an explanation.

    The 9th Admendment was not used by the Surpreme Court untill 1965. The case that it was used on was Griswold (not that Griswold) vs Connecticut which struck down a state law banning contraceptives. Hmm imagine that. Not in this link but I did see where this admendent was used to support Roe vs Wade. Hmm again.
    Now I know that the right-wing uses the tactic of saying something is true, even though its not, over and over again until it becomes true. Not this time. Sorry

  41. Owen Reitzel 2012.01.18

    One more of the example of the 9th admendment in use Stace.

    "This series of cases has led some scholars to conclude that the Ninth Amendment may be returning to a constitutional hibernation. Yet the Ninth Amendment retains some vitality. In roe v. wade, the federal District Court for the Northern District of Texas ruled that a state law prohibiting Abortion in all instances except to save the life of the mother violated the right to privacy guaranteed by the Ninth Amendment (314 F. Supp. 1217 [1970]).

    On appeal the Supreme Court affirmed the district court's ruling, stating that the right to privacy, "whether it be founded in the Fourteenth Amendment's concept of personal liberty and restrictions upon state action, as we feel it is, or, as the District Court determined, in the Ninth Amendment's reservation of rights to the people, is broad enough to encompass a woman's decision whether or not to terminate her pregnancy" (Roe v. Wade, 410 U.S. 113, 93 S. Ct. 705, 35 L. Ed. 2d 147 [1973]). Federal courts continue to rely on the Ninth Amendment in support of a woman's constitutional right to choose abortion under certain circumstances."

    Your are right on not being able to guarantee an officers safety. My son, and I know you do to, that it's part of the job. But why make it easier for anyone? And why take revenue away from the state when we need it? Sorry Stace but the law you want passed doesn't sense.

  42. Bob Newland 2012.01.18

    It's moronic convergence. A legislator who is mostly nuts has accidentally introduced a good proposal. I support the proposal. I have a natural (i.e., "god"-given) right to defend myself with whatever weapon of self-defense I deem adequate. Kopp and I agree on that, I think. That's all.

  43. Stace Nelson 2012.01.18

    @Owen You asked where is it written that law abiding people shall have the right to carry a concealed weapon. In that it is a right to own and possess one as identified in the 2nd Amendment, and there is no explicit prohabitions against it in the Constitution, 9th makes it clear that the people retain that right.

    You and I appear have differing ideas about what law enforcement does and their standing in society. I believe that LE is there to serve and protect the public. LE is also supposed to protect the Constitutional rights of the public. Taking weapons away from law abiding citizens does NOTHING to protect police officer, studies show the exact opposite.

  44. Steve Sibson 2012.01.18

    "Sermon on the Mount and the Love commandments"

    Jesus did not say make Ceasar take away from somebody else, so that Ceasar can take care of the poor and you don't have to. Making somebocdy else do it Bill is not love.

  45. Matt Groce 2012.01.20


    PIERRE, S.D. (AP) - Two South Dakota lawmakers say they were
    threatened with smear campaigns if they didn't support a bill that
    would have allowed people to carry guns without a special permit.
    The legislators - Reps. Peggy Gibson and Gene Abdallah - voted
    against the bill anyway during a Friday hearing. It was defeated
    The bill, sponsored by Rep. Don Kopp of Rapid City, would have
    abolished the requirement for a concealed weapons permit for people
    who comply with other handgun laws.
    Gibson alleges that the group South Dakota Gun Owners threatened
    that "if I don't support the bill, they'll come after me."
    She says she has nothing against gun ownership in general.
    Officials from the gun-rights organization, which favored the
    bill, were not immediately available for comment.

    (Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

  46. caheidelberger Post author | 2012.01.20

    Wow!!! This story gets promoted to another post! Stay tuned!

  47. Troy Jones 2012.01.20

    Gibson and Abdullah's response reminds me of a similar occurrence during the Mickelson years.

    After a meeting in Aberdeen, a particular group threatened Mickelson with retaliation. They were rude and over-bearing. During our return to Pierre, I said something to the affect "Governor, you sure were calm. I'd have been tempted to punching them in the nose (figuratively, not literally) for their rudeness but what are you going to do about their threat. They are a political force."

    The Governor shrugged, smiled and said nothing more. I think at his next press conference he said "With some this is not popular and they have threatened to defeat me next election. But I'm here to do what is best for everyone. If I get beat, so be it." The public did the punching as the group got neutered.

    I don't know Gibson but if this group decides to take on Abdullah on an issue of guns (the guy is among the most respected in the law enforcement community state-wide) is stupid. Massively stupid.

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