Concealed carry citizenship requirement came in response to 9/11

2011-01-06T21:30:00Z Concealed carry citizenship requirement came in response to 9/11Nick Penzenstadler, Journal staff Rapid City Journal
January 06, 2011 9:30 pm  • 

A South Dakota law denying concealed carry weapon permits to non-citizens was enacted in the wake of the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11, 2001, when states were looking for ways to tighten security and guard against future attacks, Secretary of State Jason Gant said Thursday.

Gant provided history on the 2002 law change after it was challenged Monday in federal court by the South Dakota chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union.

"It had tremendous support at that time to make sure only U.S. citizens were receiving the permits," Gant said. "It had bipartisan support along with several other agencies."

At the time, Attorney General Mark Barnett, the South Dakota Police Chiefs Association, the South Dakota Sheriff's Association and the South Dakota Shooting Sports Association all supported the change. Gant said the measure passed without opposition or a dissenting vote at any level.

Other states including Iowa, Wyoming and Montana have a lower standard of allowing legal U.S. residents to apply for permits, as opposed to full U.S. citizens living in the states with a green card.

In the suit filed Monday, Wayne Smith argues that he should be allowed to receive a permit as protected by the Fourteenth Amendment's equal protection clause. Smith, of Sioux Falls, has been a lawful permanent resident since 1979 after moving to the United States from the United Kingdom.

Smith is not alone in his request.

David Cohen of Meade County said his wife, Chris, wants a concealed carry permit for her 9 mm Glock handgun; but she is originally from Scotland and has not become a U.S. citizen since moving to the United States 20 years ago.

"The challenging part is I keep a gun in the car, but if she needs the car, she can't drive with it, because that'd be against the law," David Cohen said. "I don't know why South Dakota is doing this; it's kind of ridiculous."

With more than 7 percent of the state population holding a concealed carry permit, Gant said his office will be ready to distribute any rule change that could come out of the upcoming legislative session.

"This is a great opportunity to talk about the procedures and educate the public," he said. "It's interesting to see how many people have permits. We have a strong tradition of hunting and Second Amendment rights here in South Dakota."

Contact Nick Penzenstadler at 394-8415 or

Copyright 2015 Rapid City Journal. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

(7) Comments

  1. BobJones
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    BobJones - January 07, 2011 3:35 pm
    As the old saying goes, membership has its privileges. Get your US citizenship first and then you can have your CCW permit. Another possible way to look at it is how states have CCW reciprocity with other states. How about we look at gun ownership rights of the originating country? If their home country doesn't allow CCW, than neither should ours unless they go ahead and get their US citizenship. Fair enough?
  2. Redstater
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    Redstater - January 07, 2011 2:33 pm
    My question is, why carry concealed? Let the world see what you pack and enjoy the respect.
  3. KLewis
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    KLewis - January 07, 2011 12:57 pm
    If they make the change, hopefully it will be harder than getting a driver's license is now. And I was born here, raised here, registered to vote here, registered with Selective Service, etc.
  4. Just askin
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    Just askin - January 07, 2011 11:34 am
    There is an easy solution to this. If anyone that has lived here for enough years to know what our [Citizens] United States of America rules laws and ways are and still choses to live here and truly appreciate the way of life it has brought us and the complainers then become a Citizen of the United States of America and reap ALL the benefits. In this case after becoming a Citizen of the United States of America all one needs to do is PASS a background check come up with a few dollars[US} and walla!no need to whine or try to change our rules,laws or ways. Join us,we [Citizens] of the United States of America are not all that bad.
  5. chrome
    Report Abuse
    chrome - January 07, 2011 9:12 am
    If a "resident" has not changed their citzenship to the United States then their alliegance is to some other country. That country could be one not friendly to us. We should not have citizens of any other country carring guns among us. The law is correct as is.
  6. OneMansOpinion
    Report Abuse
    OneMansOpinion - January 07, 2011 9:10 am
    Well thank you for providing information on where a criminal can obtain a gun courtesy of a Sturgis resident. BTW after twenty years in this country isn't it time to either prove up or get out?
  7. engineercsm
    Report Abuse
    engineercsm - January 07, 2011 8:04 am
    I am not sure I understand what the issue is, if you have lived in this country for 20 or 30 years why haven't you become a US citizen yet? I guarantee you that in countries like England, Ireland and Germany they won't allow you to carry a gun period. Become a US citizen and you will have every right that everybody else has that has gone through the process of becoming a US citizen. Unless you have plans to go back to where you are from. In order to carry a concealed weapon it takes a Background check and in order to do that you have to be a US Citizen.
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