Law enforcement wary of concealed carry bill before governor

2012-03-01T05:00:00Z 2012-03-21T21:23:16Z Law enforcement wary of concealed carry bill before governorDavid Montgomery Journal staff Rapid City Journal
March 01, 2012 5:00 am  • 

Local law enforcement officials are leery of a bill to allow South Dakotans to carry concealed weapons without a permit.

That measure, House Bill 1248, passed the Legislature Tuesday and awaits Gov. Dennis Daugaard’s signature or veto.

If Daugaard signs the law, many South Dakotans will bypass a layer of bureaucracy, including a background check and a small fee, before being able to carry a concealed weapon.

Anyone with a valid South Dakota driver’s license who isn’t disqualified from carrying a concealed weapon – including convicted felons, people with a “history of violence” and people with mental illness – will be able to carry a concealed weapon without the permit.

Permits still will be available for people who want one. Many other states recognize South Dakota concealed weapon permits as valid, and travelers would need a permit in order to carry concealed weapons those states. If the bill is signed into law, it would make South Dakota the fifth state to not require a concealed carry permit. Alaska, Arizona, Vermont and Wyoming don’t require permits to carry concealed weapons.

The bill also won’t change where people are allowed to carry a weapon. It will still be against the law to possess a firearm inside a courthouse or to possess a loaded firearm while intoxicated.

Federal laws requiring background checks for people buying firearms also would be unaffected.

Supporters say it is a matter of giving citizens their freedoms.

“I believe this simply restores some of the constitutional rights of the citizens of South Dakota, the law-abiding citizens,” said Sen. Larry Rhoden, R-Union Center.

Rapid City Police Chief Steve Allender worries the law will make life harder – and possibly more dangerous – for police.

“When we find a gang member carrying a concealed gun, it will be up to the police officer to conduct a background check on the spot to see if that gang member qualifies under the new law to carry a concealed pistol,” Allender said. “I think it’s a very awkward and poorly constructed legislation.”

Allender and Pennington County State’s Attorney Glenn Brenner both hope Daugaard vetoes the bill.

“I’m very much in favor of legitimate people being allowed to carry a firearm,” Brenner said.

But the bill is “going to inconvenience law enforcement and take a patrol deputy or patrol police officer that otherwise could be working on something else,” Brenner said. “He’ll be tied up trying to verify whether this is a legitimate carry.”

The Pennington and Meade county sheriffs aren’t big fans of the bill, but don’t see major downfalls, either.

“It’s going to probably create some confusion for the public, but otherwise I don’t think it’s going to do anything for us,” said Ron Merwin, the Meade County sheriff.

Pennington County Sheriff Kevin Thom said public education will still be needed to clear up who is and isn’t allowed to carry a concealed weapon.

“Some people are going to be under the impression that if they have a valid South Dakota driver’s license, they can carry a weapon concealed, which is true, except that the current law still stays in place,” Thom said.

If the bill does go into effect, Thom predicted most gun owners would still get concealed carry permits.

“I don’t think we’re going to see a big dip in the number of people getting pistol permits, because I think the majority of people are going to want to carry a gun across state lines,” Thom said.

Last year, Thom’s office issued more than 2,600 new and renewed concealed carry permits, but denied 130 applications.

Rhoden said constitutional rights trump any argument for leaving control with local law officials.

“When in doubt, give us our rights,” Rhoden said.

Daugaard is uncertain whether he will sign the bill. He said Wednesday that he has yet to examine it closely. The governor has just over two weeks to sign or veto the law.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Contact David Montgomery at 394-8329 or david.montgomery@rapidcityjournal.com

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

(28) Comments

  1. Dynarider1960
    Report Abuse
    Dynarider1960 - March 07, 2012 10:25 am
    Hey Cook, No where on the application does it ask what you want to carry, nor do they ask how many if any firearms you may own. So having a concealed carry permit will not enable anyone to know what to confiscate if they come to your home, that is all covered when you buy the weapon and fill out the ATF forms.
  2. open-i
    Report Abuse
    open-i - March 05, 2012 9:05 am
    BobJones said: "One other thought, please don't use the death of our brave officers to rationalize your left wing political beliefs."

    I second this!
  3. ebd101
    Report Abuse
    ebd101 - March 03, 2012 4:01 pm
    There is one thing to remember here; the government was not instituted to represent the will of law enforcement. To prevent the free exercise of a Constitutional Right because of "law enforcement concerns" is to begin the journey down a slippery slope.

    Criminals, by definition, disregard laws prohibiting concealed carry or anything else. To prevent law-abiding citizens from exercising an unfettered right to bear arms because police fear society's lowest common denominator equates to punishing the innocent.

    Other states have instituted Constitutional Carry and, despite dire warnings of scores of police officers being slaughtered, have managed to be quite civil.

    I encourage Governor Daugaard to show some political courage and sign this bill.
  4. BobJones
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    BobJones - March 02, 2012 8:16 am
    One other thought, please don't use the death of our brave officers to rationalize your left wing political beliefs.
  5. BobJones
    Report Abuse
    BobJones - March 02, 2012 8:12 am
    196th said: "We here seem to have all but forgotten the tragedy that happened on our very streets here with a concealed carry and the deaths of two officers..."



    No, I have not forgotten, nor will I ever. It is nonsensical to assume that a criminal out to kill cops cares about concealed carry laws. What you are really talking about here is putting controls on law abiding citizens only, not the criminal element. I understand your argument, but don't pretend that any concealed carry law matters a hill of beans to someone like that thug who killed our officers.

  6. XDSTEEL
    Report Abuse
    XDSTEEL - March 02, 2012 6:27 am
    196thlightinfantry said: "First off, I am a hunter and was first in the NRA as a child to get my hunting permit. I learned safety as a child and to be responsible as a gun owner and one who has the power of life and death at his fingertips. I never forgot that and am still grateful to the NRA for that training. Now comes this 2nd amendment nonsense of a bill. So do not think that I am some liberal bleeding heart that would not know the difference between hunting and cowardice. This rates as one of the dumbest laws to ever be considered by the State of South Dakota and we have had some dozzies, some that we are still paying for and others that will come. There was an article in the Rapid City Journal not so many months ago that was written by a student at School of Mines. In it, he more or less, advocates being proud of open carry and to do so. His words claim that do do differently, implies that the concealed carrier has something to hid besides the weapon and I could not agree more. So this is another steamer of a law and must be defeated by our governor. We here seem to have all but forgotten the tragedy that happened on our very streets here with a concealed carry and the deaths of two officers and the wounding of another as well as the shooter. That human tragedy, should be clearly etched in our memory bank. Our chief or police is correct in his worries about our citizens and our officers of the law. I say this, if you want to carry your pistols, carry them for all to see. Pack that baby on your hip or with a dual crossover, quick action pistol pack for them dual ivory smoke wagons. Don't be that guy that picks a fight and then pulls it out like a trick or treater. Kill this bill Denny, the sooner the better."

    I just want to say as a Open carry advocate that it is already legal to open carry without a Permit! SO why fight this bill? it is the most logical next step. I think that the police do a fine job and taking away the permit is won't hinder them. Besides, most Law Enforcement centers that issue the permit violate stae law by adding "extra information" than allowed by law.

  7. Buldog
    Report Abuse
    Buldog - March 01, 2012 9:07 pm
    hazmat said: In not other instance of exercising ones rights, do you have to fill out paper work and submit yourself to the proctological exam of a background check. Try forcing someone to get a permit to buy a book, or get certain medical procedures done, or go to church. See how well that goes over.

    LEOs know when they pull someone over if they've got a rap sheet or not, whether they have outstanding wants/warrants or not.

    You can not be serious! Are you really comparing buying a gun or getting a permit for onen to buying a book, going to church or getting a medical procedure? Wow!

    And do you really believe that a LEO knows who is driving a car and what their rap sheet says before they even get out of their squad car? Another wow!

  8. Buldog
    Report Abuse
    Buldog - March 01, 2012 7:27 pm
    hazmat said: In not other instance of exercising ones rights, do you have to fill out paper work and submit yourself to the proctological exam of a background check. Try forcing someone to get a permit to buy a book, or get certain medical procedures done, or go to church. See how well that goes over.LEOs know when they pull someone over if they've got a rap sheet or not, whether they have outstanding wants/warrants or not.

    You can not be serious! Are you really comparing buying a gun or getting a permit for onen to buying a book, going to church or getting a medical procedure? Wow!

    And do you really believe that a LEO knows who is driving a car and what their rap sheet says before they even get out of their squad car? Another wow!
  9. hazmat
    Report Abuse
    hazmat - March 01, 2012 4:06 pm
    True, SD permits amount to almost nothing, being as they only cost $10 and a couple of weeks in the mail. We don't have the same onerous requirements of other states like training classes, fingerprints, or picture ID. $10 ain't that bad compared to the $165 I shelled out for a Utah permit 2 yrs ago.

    But that's not the point. A carry permit amounts to a prior restraint on the exercise of a fundamental, Constitutionally protected civil right. In not other instance of exercising ones rights, do you have to fill out paper work and submit yourself to the proctological exam of a background check. Try forcing someone to get a permit to buy a book, or get certain medical procedures done, or go to church. See how well that goes over.

    It's been said too many times in this debate not only here, but in other states where it's been debated and passed: You don't have to worry about the good guys! Duh! Bad guys usually are pretty good about outing themselves by doing bad things! It doesn't take an astrophysicist to figure that out.

    LEOs know when they pull someone over if they've got a rap sheet or not, whether they have outstanding wants/warrants or not. They should be treating everyone they meet with just a little bit of suspicion and trepidation. That's the nature of the job.

    And when you point out that the garbage that shot those officers last summer was carrying a concealed weapon, get this point straight. Regardless of whether this law had been in place or not, the simple fact is that the shooter was not LEGALLY allowed to possess a firearm. No law on the books then or now would have prevented that fact.
  10. SportGunner
    Report Abuse
    SportGunner - March 01, 2012 1:08 pm
    Concealed carry without a permit, better known as "Constitutional Carry", is in place in Arizona, Alaska, parts of Montana, Wyoming (residents), and Vermont. Despite the assertions to the contrary at passage, constitutional carry has been mostly uneventful.

    Those who were sufficiently motivated to carry obtained a permit. A lack of a permit requirement hasn't been shown to create large quantities of new concealed carriers.

    As always, law only encumbers the law-abiding, and those who carried contrary to law will continue to do so.

    There will be little change for law enforcement in the field. Officers operate a constant risk-assessment loop, regardless of known or unknown armed status. Officers won't suddenly become more able to detect concealed weapons, nor are citizens likely to disclose their presence any more than they already have.

    Verifying that an armed citizen doesn't have a firearms disability may take some additional time. However, how many officers verify the validity of a permit now, or check to see if there has been a new firearms disability since issuance of the permit?

    For the public at large, nothing changes. They remain oblivious to lawfully and unlawfully armed citizens in their presence now.
  11. lonald
    Report Abuse
    lonald - March 01, 2012 12:55 pm
    No matter what laws they pass crooks will carry guns and knives! Any one that thinks differently is nieve or stupid! A lot o LEOs think that you should call a cop to protect you.Any one out there timed the responce time of LEOs? Kind of slow.You are dead by the time they show up.The officers shot in Rapid were shot by a crook that did not have a concealed permit and no crook does.Guns don't kill people !! People kill people!!If you are being fired upon and someone comes to your rescue, you don't care if that person has a permit or not!!
  12. gil knappmiller
    Report Abuse
    gil knappmiller - March 01, 2012 11:46 am
    AmericanPatriot said: "Anyone with a valid South Dakota driver’s license who isn’t disqualified from carrying a concealed weapon – including convicted felons, people with a “history of violence” and people with mental illness – will be able to carry a concealed weapon without the permit.Not according to the federal Gun Control Act of 1968, or the federal Firearm Owners Protection Act of 1986, or the Lautenberg Amendment. Although there are some cases where these provisions might be waived the general rule of law is that felons and others that local law enforcement are trying to claim will be carrying regularly as a scare tactic are not permitted to possess firearms. "

    --noticed that too and suspect it may be poor sentence construction--how about that, Mr.Editor?
  13. gil knappmiller
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    gil knappmiller - March 01, 2012 11:33 am
    --no problems so far (nor will there be) in Arizona with Constitutional Carry--with a population several multiples of that in South Dakota.
  14. Cook
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    Cook - March 01, 2012 11:22 am
    I am not of the need to have anyone know what or how many guns I own. If I dont use them to the letter of the law then enforce the law. Dont attempt to intimidate me by making me document what and how many guns I have so if you change the law you can come and confiscate them.
  15. Inthemiddle
    Report Abuse
    Inthemiddle - March 01, 2012 10:27 am
    Fast Eddie said: "Scary. I have a permit and it was no big deal to obtain it. I hope the Governor puts a stop to this and fast. The last thing we need is a bunch of closet lunatics carrying a concealed gun legally. I would imagine just having to apply for a concealed carry permit will keep a lot of people from carrying a gun and stop a lot of "normal" people from getting into trouble with a gun. Veto this Governor. "

    Your rationality doesn't make logical sense FE. Closet lunatic? Having to apply for a permit keeps a lot of people from carrying a gun? Again, this does not make logical sense considering a 'closet lunatic' (whatever this means) would already be carrying a gun irregardless of any law. It appears this bill would promote more freedom for the people that carry (and have to apply) for a permit to begin with and not make it easier for these "law abiding, closet lunatics" you refer to. ????
  16. CMH
    Report Abuse
    CMH - March 01, 2012 10:17 am
    I have a CC and will continue to have one. I want to be able to carry in states that honor our CC permit. But at the same time I dont' think as a citizen I should be required to get a CC permit in SD or any other state. The 2nd Amendment gives me the right to carry anyway I wish. I back LEO and know they have a hard job, but at the same time every stop they make they should think that the person could be carrying and not a good citizen, but a criminal carrying. God Bless all of our LEO, they do a wonderful job.
  17. chrome
    Report Abuse
    chrome - March 01, 2012 10:03 am
    I like the permit system and will continue using it. When traveling or otherwise the permit is something you can show to put nervous parties at rest that you are not a felon with a gun. If a person is worried about passing a background check than they shouldn't be carrying a gun.
  18. AmericanPatriot
    Report Abuse
    AmericanPatriot - March 01, 2012 9:36 am
    Fast Eddie said: "I would imagine just having to apply for a concealed carry permit will keep a lot of people from carrying a gun..."

    I am sure you are right. After all criminals respect the laws and obey them, don't they?

  19. AmericanPatriot
    Report Abuse
    AmericanPatriot - March 01, 2012 9:30 am
    Anyone with a valid South Dakota driver’s license who isn’t disqualified from carrying a concealed weapon – including convicted felons, people with a “history of violence” and people with mental illness – will be able to carry a concealed weapon without the permit.

    Not according to the federal Gun Control Act of 1968, or the federal Firearm Owners Protection Act of 1986, or the Lautenberg Amendment. Although there are some cases where these provisions might be waived the general rule of law is that felons and others that local law enforcement are trying to claim will be carrying regularly as a scare tactic are not permitted to possess firearms.
  20. SDSMTengineer
    Report Abuse
    SDSMTengineer - March 01, 2012 9:11 am
    This is a great step towards more freedom within our state... The next thing the governor needs to sign in to law is a campus carry provision. As an outstanding citizen and a student at mines I feel that my rights are infringed on because as a student I cannot carry on campus, not because of state laws but because or the policies of the Board of Regents a state organization.
  21. Ranger01
    Report Abuse
    Ranger01 - March 01, 2012 9:02 am
    I think if the concern is about our constitutional rights to bear arms as Legislator Rhoden says,then why even bother to conceal them. Lets just wear them proudly for everyone to see. After all, its our right to do so!
  22. Normality
    Report Abuse
    Normality - March 01, 2012 8:57 am
    I am curious about your logic, Fast Eddie. What prevents, what you call a "closet lunatic", from obtaining a permit?
    As far as a LEO doing an on spot background check, it appears to me this is performed as a matter of routine, and without undue hinderance. In a recent traffic stop the LEO, upon learning I had a concealed weapon, made a call to assure that the firearm was leagal and that there was no recent violation to invalidate my CCW permit.
  23. 196thlightinfantry
    Report Abuse
    196thlightinfantry - March 01, 2012 8:47 am
    First off, I am a hunter and was first in the NRA as a child to get my hunting permit. I learned safety as a child and to be responsible as a gun owner and one who has the power of life and death at his fingertips. I never forgot that and am still grateful to the NRA for that training. Now comes this 2nd amendment nonsense of a bill. So do not think that I am some liberal bleeding heart that would not know the difference between hunting and cowardice. This rates as one of the dumbest laws to ever be considered by the State of South Dakota and we have had some dozzies, some that we are still paying for and others that will come. There was an article in the Rapid City Journal not so many months ago that was written by a student at School of Mines. In it, he more or less, advocates being proud of open carry and to do so. His words claim that do do differently, implies that the concealed carrier has something to hid besides the weapon and I could not agree more. So this is another steamer of a law and must be defeated by our governor

    .

    We here seem to have all but forgotten the tragedy that happened on our very streets here with a concealed carry and the deaths of two officers and the wounding of another as well as the shooter. That human tragedy, should be clearly etched in our memory bank. Our chief or police is correct in his worries about our citizens and our officers of the law. I say this, if you want to carry your pistols, carry them for all to see. Pack that baby on your hip or with a dual crossover, quick action pistol pack for them dual ivory smoke wagons. Don't be that guy that picks a fight and then pulls it out like a trick or treater. Kill this bill Denny, the sooner the better.
  24. Just askin
    Report Abuse
    Just askin - March 01, 2012 8:34 am
    Just sayin!
    Hmmm! If a person is worried about a passing a simple,reasonably priced background check perhaps then they shouldn't be carrying.
  25. Observer57555
    Report Abuse
    Observer57555 - March 01, 2012 7:58 am
    The 2nd Amendment of the Constitution is the only carry permit we need. I applaud our legislators for standing firm in restoring our freedom to carry without a permit! I hope our Governor will honor their courage by signing the bill into law.
  26. Gnib
    Report Abuse
    Gnib - March 01, 2012 7:46 am
    I love to see this. Not the bill itself. It will be the true test of who is really "conservative" and still pro-LEO. A fight between a fire fighter and a puppy next.
  27. Fast Eddie
    Report Abuse
    Fast Eddie - March 01, 2012 6:58 am
    Scary. I have a permit and it was no big deal to obtain it. I hope the Governor puts a stop to this and fast. The last thing we need is a bunch of closet lunatics carrying a concealed gun legally. I would imagine just having to apply for a concealed carry permit will keep a lot of people from carrying a gun and stop a lot of "normal" people from getting into trouble with a gun. Veto this Governor.
  28. rezident
    Report Abuse
    rezident - March 01, 2012 5:40 am
    As a former LEO I support this bill 100%! Every officer should approach every traffic stop as if everyone in the vehicle is armed ie: situation awareness. That's all situations.

    If law enforcement is worried about people with violent pasts carring concealed weapons, they probably better clean up their own back yard first ie convicted wife beaters newly hired in the northern hills!
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