PIERRE, S.D. — People would be able to carry concealed weapons without a permit in South Dakota under a measure that advanced Tuesday in the Republican-led Senate, despite opposition from GOP Gov. Dennis Daugaard.
The Senate Judiciary Committee voted 5-2 to send the bill to the chamber’s floor. It would also have to move through the state House to reach Daugaard, who has said he would veto it.
The Republican governor rejected a similar proposal last year, saying the state’s permit process is simple and straightforward. House lawmakers failed to muster enough support to overcome the veto.
Daugaard said recently that the permits help protect against concealed carry by people who have committed crimes and those with mental illness or intoxication issues.
“I don’t see any reason why I would support this bill,” Daugaard said. “Would I veto it? Yes, I would.”
GOP Sen. Lance Russell, the bill’s sponsor, said Tuesday that the measure has worked in other states. Republican Sen. Stace Nelson, a supporter, said the bill “un-infringes the constitution.”
“Carrying concealed is a important aspect for the safety of the individual, for them to be able to retain their firearm,” Nelson said.
It is currently a misdemeanor for someone to carry a concealed pistol or to have one concealed in a vehicle without a permit. At the end of December 2017, more than 100,000 people in South Dakota had concealed carry permits.