Gun laws are drawing a lot of debate in Pierre. House Bill 1156
would allow law enforcement and enhanced concealed pistol permit holders to carry a concealed pistol at the South Dakota Capitol.
As lawmakers discuss bills in Pierre, some say they need more safety. Under House Bill 1156, people who take the necessary training courses and background checks would be allowed to carry a pistol while in the capitol. One of the bill's sponsors, Rep. Thomas Brunner says that training would prepare people for an emergency situation.
"Basically the training one of the big emphasis was on use of force. So people need to understand when it's a good idea, when it's proper according to the law to use your weapon," Brunner said.
The Secretary of State's Office issued more than 1,400 enhanced permits in 2016.
Currently, the South Dakota Highway Patrol provides security at the state Capitol. The State Department of Public Safety opposes the measure.
"When you've got multiple individuals with guns, although they might be enhanced permit carry holders, which is good but as far as an active shooter it's very confusing. We don't want other individuals getting hurt," Trevor Jones with DPS said.
Governor Dennis Daugaard is also weighing in on the discussion. Thursday, he announced that if the bill passes through the state senate, he will veto it.
"I think like a courtroom, the capitol is sometimes a good place where emotions run high and I think it's good for people who are trained, repetitiously trained on managing dangerous situations like that should be the ones that protect us," Daugaard said.
Another issue talked about revolves around "constitutional carry" bills. Those proposed laws would let people carry concealed guns without a permit. Daugaard says he would veto that bill as well.
"My belief is South Dakota has reasonable gun laws today with regard to owning guns. Some states are much more restrictive," Daugaard said.
Supporters of constitutional carry say that permitting isn't necessary because almost all of the applicants are approved anyway. However, Minnehaha County alone denied 125 people who applied for concealed carry permits.
Here is a breakdown of the reasons why they were denied. Numbers provided by the Minnehaha County Sheriff's Office:
23 people had felony convictions
17 had domestic violence arrests
9 had clear histories of violence
55 had disqualifying drug offenses
3 had recently been placed on mental holds
5 had violated protection orders
4 had current active warrants
9 had previous weapons violations
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