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Sen. Greenfield: Legislators Disregard Law, Sneak Guns into Capitol

Senate Judiciary yesterday heard and wisely killed Senate Bill 162, Senator Brock Greenfield's (R-2/Clark) bad idea to authorize legislators to carry concealed weapons in the State Capitol.

In advocating his bill, which Greenfield said he thunk up all on his lonesome without consulting with the Department of Public Safety whose troopers currently protect the Capitol, the senator from Clark offered this evidence of dangerous and arrogant lawbreaking by his colleagues:

...In my 15 years here I have come to learn that sometimes legislators break the law. Believe it or not, they break the law by carrying their concealed weapon into the Capitol, because for them, I guess they feel that their lives are paramount and that the law prohibiting us to carry is secondary [Senator Brock Greenfield, testimony on Senate Bill 162 before Senate Judiciary, South Dakota Legislature, Pierre, SD, 2015.02.12, timestamp 17:32]

Senator Greenfield is testifying to the fact that multiple legislators think they are bigger than the law. Senator Greenfield is testifying that he is aware of multiple instances of Class 1 misdemeanors putting the public and law enforcement officials at risk. (Luckily for Senator Greenfield, it's only a crime not to report felonies, not misdemeanors.)

Given that Senator Greenfield has alerted us to this criminal risk to public safety, perhaps the state troopers who protect the Capitol and all of the citizens therein now have justification to stop and frisk legislators. If people are bringing guns into the Legislature, law enforcement should stop them and punish them according to the law.

And legislators, if you can't get your priorities straight, if you go to work on the people's dime thinking the law is secondary to your whims and fears, maybe you're in the wrong line of work.


  1. larry kurtz 2015.02.13

    Why worry now? Let them eat strake.

  2. Jim 2015.02.13

    One of our fine legislators in supporting the repeal of concealed permits, stated that during an exchange with a disgruntled former employee, it would have been better if he were armed in case the exchange had escalated. Wasnt it better that they both had not been armed?

  3. Nick Nemec 2015.02.13

    Someday some legislator will be involved in an "accidental" shooting in the Capitol. Any bets on who it will be?

  4. Bob Newland 2015.02.13

    Brock Greenfield will shoot Steve Hickey in a squabble over the Christianness of the death penalty.

  5. Lynn 2015.02.13

    What are we coming to in this state? Seriously! Enough is enough!

    Is there a metal detector or some type of security screening at the Capitol? If these legislators are caught carrying a weapon into that building they should be charged. Law enforcement is there to protect everyone there. Let them do their jobs and do it safely.

  6. 96Tears 2015.02.13

    The State Capitol doesn't need a metal detector as much as a mental detector with this pack of mouth-breathers.

  7. MC 2015.02.13

    Lynn, Last time I checked there is not a metal or mental detector at any of the capitol entrances.

    While I trend to the right on most topics, on this topic legislators do not need to be armed in the capitol.

    Now let's more on to more important topics, Like funding road repair and how to trump local control of school boards to pay teachers more.

  8. Bill Fleming 2015.02.13

    What happened to the idea that we are a nation of laws, not of men? If they're gonna pack heat, everybody should know it. Wear those pistols on the outside boys. If they won't let you in, show them your copies of the Constitution as they show you the way out of the Chamber. Wanna defend your 2nd Amendment rights? Fine. But first you have to grow a pair. ;-)

  9. David Newquist 2015.02.13

    So many of our legislators are so loopy that one wonders how comfortable they feel about their fellow loops packing firearms. The very fact that in a place like the Pierre capitol, which as far as I know has never had an instance of threatened firearm violence outside of the introduction of laws like SB 162, one has concerns about the mental state of those who want to arm themselves against threats that exist only in their minds.

  10. MC 2015.02.13

    There has been a few heated words on the house floor

  11. SuperSweet 2015.02.13

    One mental detector that hasn't been activated is the electors who keep sending these cases back to the legislature.

  12. Jenny 2015.02.13

    Ammosexuals such as Greenfield can't help it. Their obsession with guns is such that they get extremely paranoid when they can't have their guns with them at all time. Obsessive-compulsive is really what ammosexualism is.
    In extreme cases they may become violent.

  13. Roger Cornelius 2015.02.13

    As a state senator, Brockfield has an obligation to the public and law enforcement to report any and all crimes whether they are committed in the capital or elsewhere.

    It should not matter whether they are a felony or a misdemeanor.

  14. Owen reitzel 2015.02.13

    Hey MC. it not about school boards when it comes to teacher pay it about the lack of leadership shown by the Republicans and Daugaard

  15. Roger Cornelius 2015.02.13

    Way good find Jenny, gotta love Maher.

    Maybe to appease the gun obsessed legislature we should concede a point and allow them to have "a bring your gun to the legislature day".

  16. mike from iowa 2015.02.13

    Maybe you should demand wingnuts bring democracy to your legislature.

  17. Disgusted Dakotan 2015.02.13

    What is missing from this conversation is the understanding there have been legislators that could carry concealed legally in the Capitol and probably did. Dan Kaiser, Gene Abdallah, Craig Tiezen, and Stace Nelson are just a few that come to mind. Additionally, every other retired or active law enforcement officer in the USA is authorized to carry in our Capitol.

    If our legislators are not competent to carry a concealed weapon in our Capitol, then they are not qualified to carry it in Walmart or on the street right in front of the Capitol.

    If they are not competent to carry a concealed weapon, then they shouldn't be in office to begin with.

  18. mike from iowa 2015.02.13

    Nice pun SuperSweet.

  19. larry kurtz 2015.02.13

    Alcohol, citizen lawmakers and firearms: my favorite color scheme.

  20. mike from iowa 2015.02.13

    DD-please explain how being armed to the teeth reconciles with christianity.You remember- the religion of peace.(I am seriously trying not to bust a gut laughing at that last sentence)

  21. mike from iowa 2015.02.13

    Kurtz-with the exception of lily white citizen lawmakers in SD,there are far too many color variables in alcohol and guns to make much of a scheme.

  22. 96Tears 2015.02.13

    When it's your job to elect a criminal to the U.S. Senate and to prevent the public from investigating corruption and criminality in state government and South Dakota's Board of Regents, well, guns might be necessary.

  23. Jana 2015.02.13

    Are the parents of the interns informed of this imminent danger presented by unqualified legislators packing heat?

  24. caheidelberger Post author | 2015.02.13

    DD, I disagree: there may be individuals who are physically unqualified to carry a firearm but are able to fulfill the obligations of legislators.

    The apparent prevalence of lawbreaking among our legislators is why we will never see an appropriation for metal detectors at the Capitol doors. And frankly, I don't mind having one of the most open Capitols in the country. I oppose placing metal detectors at the doors of the Capitol. Let us come and go freely in our temple of democracy.

  25. mikeyc, that's me! 2015.02.13

    Temple of democracy? That's funny.
    Sounds more like an insane asylum to me.

  26. caheidelberger Post author | 2015.02.13

    I mean it, mikeyc. For a secular guy like me, the Capitol enshrines my sacred: intellect, reason, and the rule of law. That's why Senator Greenfield's casual dismissal of the rule of law (colleagues break the law because it is secondary to their own concerns) and his advocacy of the presence of more brute force in the Capitol bothers me so.

  27. caheidelberger Post author | 2015.02.13

    Jana, good question! If my daughter interns, I want to know if she'll be stuck working for a legislator carrying a deadly weapon, just as I would want to know if her teacher is carrying a gun in the classroom.

  28. Disgusted Dakotan 2015.02.13

    @CAH while my reference was to mental competence, your physical reference is a good point.

    @MFI So it's okay for you if law enforcement carrys a weapon on the public's behalf as a public servant, but it's not okay for the public to carry a weapon on their own behalf? An interesting note, tyrants view the freedom of speech/press to be a greater threat than right to bear arms. Should we also restrict the rights of people to speech/press? Or require a license? Food for thought.

  29. MC 2015.02.13

    Being a legislator and being able to operate a firearm is two different skill sets

    being able to do one doesn't mean you can or can't do the other

  30. larry kurtz 2015.02.13

    In a nod to Montana's legislature yoga pants and Speedos should be made the dress code in the South Dakota statehouse: nobody be hiding anything that way.

  31. mike from iowa 2015.02.13

    Any damn fool can shoot off their mouth with flagrant disregard for public safety and nobody dies-unless the mouth with diarrhea is dumbass dubya and the public endangered were innocent Iraqi civilians.

    Some uncouth bass carelessly carelessly shoots off a firearm and people are likely to die. Guns have minds of their own. Just moving them about causes them to go off. You can read about these "accidents" practically every day. You can read about pols shooting themselves in the foot-figuratively-everyday,too.

  32. mikeyc, that's me! 2015.02.13

    Not to mention their total lack of respect for our State Troopers.

  33. mike from iowa 2015.02.13

    DD-public servants-law enforcement are paid to protect us. Legislators anymore are taking money under false pretenses of serving the people,when they only serve themselves and korporate amerika. Like I said yesterday,you "responsible" gun owners scare the shit out of me.

    Tyrants in this country are re-writing the 1st and 2nd amendments to suit their ambitions of stifling free speech and having an armed populace to overthrow the legitimate government and install christian sharia law.

  34. Jana 2015.02.13

    Brock Greenfield should be ordered to disclose all of those who have broken the law and those offenders should be dismissed and replacements special elections held to fill the vacancies brought about by the offenders willful disregard for the law.

    Brock should be brought in front of the ethics committee for full disclosure...wait...what...we don't need no stinking ethics committee?

  35. mikeyc, that's me! 2015.02.13

    I saw that too. Wacky legislators are spreading faster than measles.

  36. Jana 2015.02.13

    Now that Brock has disclosed that there are legislators who are willfully breaking the law, it would seem to be incumbent on Secretary Trevor Jones and his boss Governor Daugaard to take legal action against those who have broken the law.

    Governor? Mr. Jones? Are there people who are above the law? Does your inaction mean that you believe there are different standards for your friends than the rest of the citizens of South Dakota.

    I would guess that there will be an investigation and public hearings that will identify and punish the offenders.

    Thanks Brock!

  37. 96Tears 2015.02.13

    Let everyone in the House and Senate carry guns and serve liquor (Rounds brothers' vodka) on the floor so they can get angry easier. It's time to thin the herd.

  38. Jana 2015.02.13

    Here is the penalty for Class One misdemeanors in South Dakota.

    One year imprisonment, $2000 fine or both.

    One would hope that the legislators who have broken the law would admit it and use themselves as a test case for the law. At least that would show that they had the courage of their convictions.

  39. Jana 2015.02.13

    Of course we know that the NRA would provide their legal defense or at least send them gift cards to use in the commissary of the county jail.

  40. 96Tears 2015.02.13

    [choke!] Jana, of [cough!] course this means [wheeze!] you expect Marty [choke!] Jackley upholds laws [gag!] against Republicans.

  41. Jana 2015.02.13

    Good point 96!

    Marty, feel free to execute the duties of your office, or if you choose not to, tell us why some are above the law.

    Thanks Marty.

  42. larry kurtz 2015.02.13

    Firing squads looking more likely in Utah and Wyoming: really thought it would be a hot topic for South Dakota's legislature.

  43. mikeyc, that's me! 2015.02.13

    A perfect retirement job for Dick Cheney.

  44. larry kurtz 2015.02.13

    Just remember, Mikey: if Aaron Burr hadn't killed Alexander Hamilton we could be living in a monarchy. Vive le Smith and Wesson!

  45. Tim 2015.02.13

    I've been thinking, there is a lot of really cool state history in the capitol building. Wife, kids and I took a tour once, nutjobs weren't there, it is a really cool place. Do you think a few bullet holes in the walls would give the place more character?

  46. mike from iowa 2015.02.13

    Ambience or ambulance,Tim. You get to choose.

  47. larry kurtz 2015.02.13

    ok, mfi: that's funny.

  48. Deb Geelsdottir 2015.02.13

    On this serious subject Madizens have written some hilarious comments!

    96 Tears - mental detectors
    Roger - bring your gun to the legislature day

    And many more. Thanks so much.

  49. caheidelberger Post author | 2015.02.13

    Mikeyc: Greenfield's disrespect to the state troopers was remarkable. DPS director Svendsen offered clear, rational testimony against SB 162, and Greenfield opened his rebuttal by saying Svendsen has a job to do, which is to create doubt about a law that the administration disagrees with. I found that comment disgusting.

  50. caheidelberger Post author | 2015.02.13

    Jana, maybe we need to offer the legislators a one-day amnesty, maybe with a "trade in your guns" program.

  51. mike from iowa 2015.02.14

    Larry-I stole that from you,and thanks.

    What is there to stop legislators from shooting up historical relics in the statehouse for target practice? The NRA will back me up on this. There are to be NO INFRINGEMENTS to deter loose unhingements that beset the mind of mortal man. You can't have their gun or take away their fun of terrorizing everyone they can.

    Gun industry suooprted population control
    Far more manly than controlling childbirth
    When shooting a wad of hot lead through a bod
    The victim inherits six feet of earth.

    And they quit whining about their rights to feel secure versus your rights to unupholstered,enamored with foolish passion,sensual delights of scaring them to death just because you feel your manhood is being questioned. You wildcats!

  52. CLCJM 2015.02.21

    The hypocrisy just keeps getting deeper. They may have to pass a law requiring the hip waders along with their firearms!

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