Come July 1, thanks to the first law signed oh-so-runway-swaggeringly by Governor Kristi Noem, insecure South Dakotans will be able to strut about town with pistols hidden in their pants without any government permit. Cops are bracing themselves:
Starting July 1st, carrying a gun in South Dakota will become a lot easier.
“We will be encountering more people that have firearms that are concealing firearms,” Minnehaha County Sheriff Mike Milstead said. “Many of those will be good people. Some will be bad people” [Michaela Feldman, “South Dakota Law Enforcement Ready for Conceal Carry Permit Change,” KSFY, 2019.06.19].
So in ten days, carrying a concealed weapon in South Dakota will be less regulated than circulating a ballot question petition. If the Legislature were as concerned about who carries a gun as it is about who carries a petition, pistol-packers would have to submit their name, phone number, and e-mail to the Secretary of State before hitting the streets armed. If we applied the logic of this year’s House Bill 1094 (which sensible South Dakotans are trying to refer and repeal!), concealed carriers and open carriers alike would have to register with the state and wear a badge every time they carried their pistol in public or face a Class 2 misdemeanor charge. And if they carried one pistol in their pants and another in their purse, they’d have to wear two badges.
Our Legislature’s deregulation of concealed weapons and overregulation of petitions makes clear an absurd miscalibration of fear among our elected officials. Governor Noem and HB 1094 sponsor Rep. Jon Hansen apparently feel more threatened by citizens exercising their First Amendment rights than by citizens exercising a questionable extension of their Second Amendment rights.
In other words, Noem and Hansen and the South Dakota Legislature are more afraid of petitions that of pistols.
Funny: I have yet to hear of any of my circulators accidentally shooting themselves or other citizens with a petition.