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We anticipate bills concerning guns in the next South Dakota legislative session, which starts Jan. 8.

Like the rest of the country, South Dakota is somewhat split on the topic of guns and gun control, although our rich hunting heritage makes the topic very much in favor of gun rights. Even non-hunters here tend to be in the pro-guns category.

Many people consider guns to be a clear-cut issue. On one side, supporters emphasize the Second Amendment of the U.S. Constitution guarantees Americans the right to keep and bear arms. Bad guys shouldn't be the only people with guns.

On the other side, gun-related homicides in the United States occur at rates higher than in most other industrialized countries. Mass shootings are heartbreaking and need to stop.

Some compromises between the clear-cut sides have taken place, such as the idea that not everyone should be able to own guns, including youth or dangerous felons, or that guns shouldn't be allowed in certain places. But continued compromises are hard to find.

One bill expected to be introduced in the South Dakota Legislature would make it legal to carry a firearm in the state Capitol, where doing so is currently banned.

Somehow it makes us uncomfortable that many legislators will carry a loaded pistol in their jacket or purse. Or that visitors will be allowed to bring in a gun.

Gun advocates say armed legislators would quickly be able to strike down a potential mass shooter who snuck something in.

We'll hear the debate and try to understand both sides. But prior to that, our instinct tells us that guns should continue to be prohibited from the Capitol building.

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— Madison Daily Leader

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