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SD House Says No Permits Needed for Pistols

Last updated on 2013.01.07

I do not enjoy starting my day with an admission that Steve Sibson is right. But once again, the broken clock strikes true.

Last month, the House Judiciary committee killed HB 1015, a gun-nut bill that would have reduced carrying a concealed weapon without a permit to a secondary offense. That bill was a bad idea for various reasons, including the loss of a check on mentally ill people carrying pistols and the ability to arrest Hell's Angels and other criminal elements for possession of unpermitted handguns. But the main reason House Judiciary snuffed HB 1015 on January 20 was because certain legislators objected to the strongarm lobbying tactics of the South Dakota Gun Owners.

Mr. Sibson hollered that legislators were putting their pride over the merits of the bill. I didn't mind much, because the thin-skinnedness of legislators who don't think they can be told what to do or that someone's going campaign hard against them overlapped with good public policy. (Go ahead, call me inconsistent.)

But now House Judiciary and the full House have gone a step further than HB 1015. They've passed HB 1248, which completely exempts adult holders of South Dakota drivers licenses from four main concealed weapon statutes (listed here). Carrying a pistol in your pocket without a permit won't even be a secondary offense. If the police stop a criminal for any other infraction—smoking pot, disturbing the peace, dealing drugs, whatever—and they find a pistol in the patdown, they pretty much shrug and move on.

Two proponents spoke in favor of HB 1248 in committee last Thursday, sponsors Rep. Betty Olson and Senator Larry Rhoden. South Dakota Gun Owners kept their heads down, but they and Sibby must now chortle over this victory of gun mania over good policy.

Repealing gun permit laws won't make us safer. Getting a concealed weapons permit in South Dakota is already pretty easy, a hardly noticeable blip of effort relative to the cost of acquiring a new firearm. HB 1248 only makes it harder for law enforcement to collar bad guys.

More importantly, HB 1248 reinforces the fallacious belief that letting more people carry guns wherever and whenever they want somehow solves any real problems our society faces. Repealing gun permit laws won't create more jobs. It won't improve kids test scores. It won't get anyone out of poverty. It won't make life practically better for anyone.


  1. Ed Randazzo 2012.02.15

    Wrong, my friend. HB1248 does not "repeal gun permit laws." But it does affirm our 2nd Amendment rights and thereby does make the folks and the families of those who take the responsibility for their own self-defense safer.

  2. WayneB 2012.02.15

    My question is how are police officers supposed to do background checks on people carrying concealed weapons without permits? I don't believe the mental health records are integrated in the criminal records / outstanding warrants database.

  3. Steve Sibson 2012.02.15

    "Repealing gun permit laws won’t create more jobs. It won’t improve kids test scores. It won’t get anyone out of poverty. It won’t make life practically better for anyone."

    Say that to a below poverty level single mother confronted by a rapist while bringing her children home from school after her shift at an ammunition manufacturer.

  4. D.E. Bishop 2012.02.15


    That was a joke, right Sibson?

  5. Bob Newland 2012.02.15

    It might make life practically better for someone like me, a victim of the stupid cannabis law, who can not get a concealed-carry permit under current law. It might not.

    There is no practical reason to deny people the right to carry a weapon.

    And yes, Cory, you are inconsistent. Your opposition to the existence of firearms makes you blind.

  6. caheidelberger Post author | 2012.02.15

    Oh, Ed, pardon me: the laws stay on the books; they simply have no teeth.

    Wayne, the permit process adds one more simple filter where law enforcement can keep guns from getting into dangerous hands.

    Steve, when you have to concoct the sort of TV movie that would result if Fox News acquired Lifetime, you're not winning.

    Bob, I do not oppose the existence of firearms. If I had money to waste, I'd go get a pistol and carry it in the open, just to make a point. But that money would be wasted. Guns do not offer the answer to any major policy issue facing our country. HB 1015 and 1248 both perpetuate blindness to that fact.

  7. Bob Newland 2012.02.15

    You're right, guns do not offer the answer to any major policy issue facing our country. So what?

    If I am confronted by some mofo who wants to adjust my attitude unjustifiably and violently, I want the ability to legally have a method to divert his energy.

    If you wanted to have a gun, you'd have it. Why oppose those who want them and have them?

  8. larry 2012.02.15

    If your a law bidding citizen whats wrong with paying 10 dollars for a permit? This state is going backwards allowing every single person to carry a concealed weapon. We should be following states like Florida that require tests and range time before a permit is issued.

    Steve, say that below poverty women purchases that firearm to protect herself and before she has the chance to fight, she is dead. She goes to pull apart that nice glock and shoots herself because she wasnt trained to handle it. Other state dont restrict people from possessing concealed weapons the educate people and give them an understanding of law. Do some research on other state

  9. WayneB 2012.02.15

    "the permit process adds one more simple filter where law enforcement can keep guns from getting into dangerous hands."

    No, it's a way for law enforcement to punish those who are caught breaking the law. Let's not kid ourselves that the people who are dangerous and have a will to commit violence will find the means.

    People like me, however, still won't be able to carry a concealed weapon under HB 1248, because apparently seeking professional mental help has me labeled as a danger to myself in the system. Can I still purchase firearms? yup. I just can't carry one around unless it's broadly displayed for the whole world to see.

    I take issue with the restriction on mental health. I understand not wanting people who are felons, or have a history of being violent to others. But why should I have to display a weapon to defend myself when you do not? Why do I have to wait a decade to prove that I'm a fully functional human being?

    I was doing survey work on a reservation. As the work was wrapping up around midnight, I was about ready to leave when I was threatened by a native american who was very intoxicated, wielding a shotgun. I'd never been so scared in my life. I'm thankful his friends convinced him not to shoot this white man... but damn, it would have been nice to not be purely at the mercy of the man with the gun.

    It's unfortunate that the police can't be where they're needed all the time. When they're not, it'd be nice to be able to carry a weapon, and not have to weird everyone out by displaying it.

  10. John Hess 2012.02.15

    Oh goodness. When should a society mandate restraint? There is always a line. In South Dakota, how often is Bob confronted with people who want to violently adjust his attitude? If Bob needs to divert that energy, call 911. We have the most responsive police force in the country. They'll come help you find your lost puppy. Does Bob really want all the crazies to carry a gun without jumping a few hoops? Talk about full circle where looney libs meet looney righter wingers.

  11. caheidelberger Post author | 2012.02.15

    But why not weird everyone out? Why not make that declaration of force from the start? Might that not prevent a number of situations from even getting started?

  12. caheidelberger Post author | 2012.02.15

    Bob, I also want a motorcycle. Until Daugaard merit pay kicks in, I can't afford a motorcycle... or more accurately, it does not provide suffficient daily utility to justify the investment.

  13. John Hess 2012.02.15

    Yeah Cory, put everyone on edge. That will calm the waters.

  14. John Hess 2012.02.15

    I have a bigger gun than you do, so don't start nothin.

  15. WayneB 2012.02.16

    "But why not weird everyone out? Why not make that declaration of force from the start? Might that not prevent a number of situations from even getting started?"

    Because I'm not Dirty Harry. I may have the right to cuss and swear and say the vilest things, but as a good citizen I don't want to offend or bring undue discomfort to those around me. Just as I want the ability to better protect myself through bearing arms, I don't necessarily want to advertise to the whole world that I am.

    Think if we applied the same restrictions to the first amendment's freedom of speech - you wouldn't need a permit to protest, but you would to quietly talk with your friend as you walk down the street.

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