- Associated Press - Wednesday, February 15, 2017

PIERRE, S.D. (AP) - A state House panel approved a bill Wednesday that would allow people who can legally carry a concealed handgun in South Dakota to do so without a permit.

The House State Affairs Committee voted 7-6 to send it to the full chamber. It’s currently a misdemeanor for someone to carry a concealed pistol or to have one concealed in a vehicle without a permit.

Openly carrying a firearm in South Dakota is legal.

Republican Rep. Lynne DiSanto, the main sponsor, said she doesn’t believe that she should have to lease back her constitutional right from the government to carry a gun in her handbag.

“I believe that the element of surprise as a woman is more beneficial for me to carry that way,” she said. “I don’t want someone to know that I’m carrying a gun.”



A similar proposal passed through the House in 2015, but died in a Senate committee. Twelve states currently allow some form of the practice, according to Lars Dalseide, a spokesman for the NRA Institute for Legislative Action.

Dalseide said in an email that he’s encouraged to see committee members stand up for the rights of their constituents and that he hopes to see a similar recognition of rights when the full chamber votes on the “vital” legislation.

GOP Gov. Dennis Daugaard has said he will veto the bill if it’s approved by the Legislature. Representatives from law enforcement and the governor’s office opposed the bill during the committee hearing.

“I really feel that our process is not burdensome,” Daugaard said last week of the state’s permit requirements. “It’s doing an important job, and our laws are very reasonable.”

At the end of December, there were roughly 96,000 active regular and enhanced permits issued in South Dakota, according to the Secretary of State’s office.

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