Residents have mixed reactions to Constitutional carry

Jamie Hult, Staff writer
Gov. Kristi Noem signs SB 47 into law last week. Effective July 1, the bill will allow S.D. residents to carry concealed guns without permits. Submitted photo

The first bill Governor Kristi Noem signed into law was a historic one for South Dakota.
Last week, South Dakota became the 13th state in the nation to allow its citizens to carry concealed guns without obtaining permits for them.
Noem signed the Constitutional carry bill Jan. 31, the same day it passed in the South Dakota State House by a 47-23 vote. 
Senate Bill 47, which goes into effect July 1, eliminates the permit process for people to carry concealed handguns in public.     
“This is a victory for gun owners,” said Ray Lautenschlager, the Executive Director of South Dakota Gun Owners, the organization that helped craft the bill.
But not everyone considers Constitutional carry a win for the state. 
“I don’t know the ins and outs of the bill, but the thought of allowing unpermitted weapons to be publicly carried scares the hell out of me,” said local resident Devon Brock. “It doesn’t make any sense.”
In Brock’s opinion, Constitutional carry is the latest example of the Second Amendment being skewed by conservatives.
“If you look at the Militia Acts that surround the Second Amendment, guns were inspected, the people who carried them were trained,” he said. “I’m not against people having firearms as long as they’re trained and permitted.” 
At a public forum in Brandon late last month, District 10 and 25 legislators defended the bill, which Noem promised to pass in her gubernatorial bid, saying a gun owner with violent intentions wouldn’t be stopped by a permit.
Dean Groen, another local resident, said he was inclined to agree.  
“I have mixed feelings,” he said. “I guess it’s OK. I feel bad guys are going to have guns no matter what.”
The Minnehaha County Sheriff’s Office has voiced concerns that the law be limited to South Dakota residents. 
According to a poll released last week by the nonprofit gun safety group Everytown for Gun Safety, 84 percent of South Dakotans surveyed supported the existing law requiring a permit in order to carry a concealed handgun in public.
Some, like Brandon Realtor Harry Buck, are perplexed about the reasoning behind Constitutional carry.
“I am not convinced that it has anything to do with improving public safety,” Buck said.


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