Constitutional Carry Supporters Await New Administration
After years of unsuccessful attempts, supporters of legislation that would allow people to carry concealed handguns without a permit in South Dakota anticipate revived prospects for the conservative prize once GOP Governor-elect Kristi Noem takes office in January.
The legislation languished under retiring Republican Governor Dennis Daugaard but Noem offered support for a so-called constitutional carry law during her campaign. Incoming GOP Senator Lynne DiSanto, the sponsor of a permitless concealed carry bill that Daugaard vetoed, said such legislation is likely in the upcoming session and she's optimistic about its prospects.
"There are a lot of Republicans that are very excited to have a conservative governor," said DiSanto, a state representative who is switching chambers. "I think under a new governor it's very likely to pass."
Daugaard has said the state's current gun laws are reasonable. Right now, it's a misdemeanor for someone to carry a concealed pistol or to have one concealed in a vehicle without a permit. At the end of October, there were nearly 108,000 pistol permits in South Dakota, according to the Secretary of State's office.
Daugaard vetoed DiSanto's proposal in 2017 and also rejected a similar measure in 2012; constitutional carry legislation failed during the 2018 session after he issued a veto threat. Bill supporters have argued that getting a concealed pistol permit can be burdensome.
Backers are likely to get a boost from Noem, who triumphed over Democratic state Sen. Billie Sutton in the November election. Noem in January urged passage of a permitless carry bill.
The 2019 session is scheduled to run Jan. 8 to March 29. Republicans will control both chambers.
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