Home > Gun rights, South Dakota > A look at some gun bills before the South Dakota Legislature

A look at some gun bills before the South Dakota Legislature

January 19, 2013

Clue_Guns_PackToday January 19, 2013, has been deemed Gun Appreciation Day. On this day Americans can show their support for the 2nd amendment and appreciation of guns. I think Judge Napolitano best sums up why this show of support is important:

The right of the people to keep and bear arms is an extension of the natural right to self-defense and a hallmark of personal sovereignty. It is specifically insulated from governmental interference by the Constitution and has historically been the linchpin of resistance to tyranny. And yet, the progressives in both political parties stand ready to use the coercive power of the government to interfere with the exercise of that right by law-abiding persons because of the gross abuse of that right by some crazies in our midst.

With that in mind I thought it would be a good idea to review some gun-related legislation being looked at in South Dakota this session. Below are three gun rights bills I found browsing through the South Dakota Legislature 2013 Legislative Session. After each bill I have posted my brief thoughts.

House Bill 1010 – Provide for exceptions from certain misdemeanor offenses relating to possession of handguns.

House Bill 1010 was introduced by Representative Russell (District 30) and Senator Otten (Ernie) (District 6). Here is the text of this bill:

FOR AN ACT ENTITLED, An Act to provide for exceptions from certain misdemeanor offenses relating to possession of handguns.

BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF SOUTH DAKOTA:

Section 1. The provisions of §§ 22-14-9, 22-14-9.1, 22-14-9.2, and 22-14-10 do not apply to any person who may legally possess a firearm under 18 U.S.C. § 922(g) (1-9). The mere possession or carrying of a pistol or revolver without a permit does not constitute grounds for an agent of the state, county, municipality, or township to conduct any search, seizure, or detainment, no matter how temporary, of an otherwise law-abiding person.

Basically this bill  does two things. First, it removes the misdemeanor penalties for law-abiding citizens that wish to carry concealed weapons without a permit. The federal law referenced is a list of citizens that are not allowed to carry firearms. This is a good change to the law. It makes no sense to have a law on the books that restricts 2nd amendment rights; especially when restricting those rights do nothing to prevent misuse of firearms. Making it a misdemeanor to carry concealed without a permit will not prohibit a criminal from carrying a gun.

Secondly this bill prevents law enforcement from conducting an unwarranted search of a law-abiding citizen simply because they are carrying a gun. There are many reasons law-abiding citizens carry weapons (concealed and in the open). The presence of a weapon by itself is not a criminal act. Treating people like they are criminals while they are not actually committing a crime does nothing but trample on individual rights protected in our Constitution.

I believe this bill should pass and be signed by the Governor. Even if it does get passed many South Dakota citizens will want to get a permit in the event they cross state lines. I don’t believe this statute would apply to reciprocity laws.

House Bill 1087 – Authorize individual school boards to create, establish, and supervise individual school sentinel programs to promote school safety.

House Bill 1087 was introduced by Representatives Craig, Bolin, Campbell, Ecklund, Gosch, Heinemann (Leslie), Hickey, Kopp, Lust, May, Olson (Betty), Qualm, Schoenfish, Sly, Stalzer, Steele, Verchio, and Wick and Senators Tieszen, Begalka, Bradford, Ewing, Jensen, Kirkeby, Lederman, Maher, Novstrup (Al), Omdahl, and Rhoden. Here is the text of this bill:

FOR AN ACT ENTITLED, An Act to authorize individual school boards to create, establish, and supervise individual school sentinel programs to promote school safety.

BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF SOUTH DAKOTA:

Section 1. Any school board may create, establish, and supervise the arming of school employees, hired security personnel, or volunteers in such manner and according to such protocols as the board, in its sole discretion, may believe to be most likely to secure or enhance the deterrence of physical threat and defense of the school, its students, its staff, and members of the public on the school premises against violent attack by any terrorist, criminal, deranged person, or other perpetrator of deadly force.

Section 2. Before any school board may implement any school sentinel program pursuant to section 1 of this Act, the school board shall interface with any law enforcement agency that has enforcement jurisdiction over the school premises. Any material changes in the school sentinel program’s personnel or protocols shall be reported to such law enforcement agency forthwith.

Section 3. No school board, in implementing the provisions of section 1 of this Act, may arm any individual teacher or other school employee without the latter’s free, willing, and voluntary consent. No individual teacher or other school employee may be censured, criticized, or discriminated against for unwillingness or refusal to carry firearms pursuant to this Act.

Section 4. No provision of § 13-32-7 or any other provisions of state statute is effective to restrict or limit the provisions of this Act. However, nothing in this Act authorizes any person to carry a concealed weapon without a valid permit.

Section 5. The failure or refusal of any school board to implement a school sentinel program does not constitute a cause of action against the board, the school district, or any of its employees.

This bill is a little more controversial. Here is my take on each of the five sections of this bill:

  1. This is sensible: let the local school board decide what is best for the security of the schools. Having bureaucrats in Washington decide a one-size-fits-all approach for such a large and diversified country does not make sense. This bill does not say South Dakota schools have to arm any one. Rather it says they may do so if that is deemed necessary. 
  2. The second section makes the school board work with local law enforcement if a program of this type is implemented. Any changes must be worked out with law enforcement as well. Again, this is reasonable. It is not only good so local law enforcement know about it; it also allows local law enforcement to help with the program.
  3. In the third section it is said that no program of this type can make any school employee carry a weapon. This one should almost go without saying. Nobody wants people protecting children that are uncomfortable with guns. Being able to use guns in defense of others takes a lot of practice and confidence. There is no way we as a public would want untrained personnel protecting others with guns.
  4. Here it says that other statutes in the law will not restrict this statute. But at the same time conceal carry laws apply in schools that implement this program. This makes sure that people opposed to such a program don’t try to find loopholes in other state laws to cause problems with its implementation.
  5. Finally its made clear that school boards do not have to implement such a program. School boards will not be punished if they don’t implement a program. Honestly, I expect few school boards will even try to set up such a program. But for those that don’t they can feel safe from repercussion.

I’m not sure if this law will pass. I hope it does. Local control of public security is always best. Like I said above, I doubt many school districts will try to implement such a program. However any school district that feels it is necessary should have the ability to do so.

Senate Bill 97 – Prohibit the publication of certain information pertaining to firearm possession and ownership.

Senate Bill 97 was introduced by Senators Monroe, Begalka, Ewing, Jensen, and Otten (Ernie) and Representatives Hoffman, Ecklund, Greenfield, Haggar (Don), Heinemann (Leslie), Hickey, May, Miller, Nelson, Olson (Betty), Rounds, Russell, and Stalzer. Here is the text of this bill:

FOR AN ACT ENTITLED, An Act to prohibit the publication of certain information pertaining to firearm possession and ownership.

BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF SOUTH DAKOTA:

Section 1. No person, newspaper, periodical, publication, or electronic medium may publish or make public any information with the intent of revealing the identity or location of any person in this state based on the second person’s legal ownership or possession of a firearm. Such prohibited information includes any information that would enable another person to contact or locate the person who owns or possesses the firearm, as follows:

(1) The name, address, location, telephone number, e-mail address, or other electronic contact information of the person who owns or possesses a firearm; and

(2) Any other information relating to any weapons permit, background check, or other information pertaining to the ownership, possession, or procurement of firearms by the person.

A violation of this section is a Class 1 misdemeanor.

On Jan 21, 2013, I looked closer at this bill. You can see here why I have chosen to change my mind on this bill. I leave me original comments below untouched (so I can remember my original stance).

This bill annoys me only because it should be unnecessary. Moral and ethical privacy standards should not have to be codified. But since a news organization decided to publish a map of gun owners name and addresses this has become necessary. The NY legislature passed a law earlier this week that forced the names and addresses to be removed from the map. It’s almost incomprehensible that a news organization would find it ethical to invade the privacy of law-abiding citizens. To prevent this from happening in South Dakota I support this bill.

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