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Concealed Weapons Bill Moves Forward

February 2, 2012, 7:11 AM by Austin Hoffman

Concealed Weapons Bill Moves Forward
PIERRE, SD - A bill recently passed in the South Dakota House of Representatives would give more rights to employees. But some say it takes too many away from the business.

House Bill 1132 passed with a vote of 49 to15.

The backbone of the bill would let employees keep guns and ammo in their locked cars on company property, but some say it goes too far.

Nearly the same bill failed in Pierre last year. Representative Marc Feinstein says the main difference this time is a new group of sponsors and the backing of the National Rifle Association. He says it comes down to property rights versus the right to bear arms.

"I am not against the second amendment; I am not against hunting. Our heritage is important to South Dakota, it's important to the South Dakota economy, it's important to the citizens of South Dakota. But I also believe that an employer has the right to police their own property as they see fit," Feinstein said.

There is also a self-defense argument. Feinstein says that's just not feasible.

"You're not going to have access to it anyway. I think that argument falls flat on its face," Feinstein said.

Representative Chuck Turbiville says with guns being a large part of our state economy, it only makes sense.

"Hey, this is South Dakota. In a lot of cases people leave work and go pheasant hunting or deer hunting or what have you," Turbiville said.

The bill would also allow visitors coming to businesses to keep guns in their cars.

"How does KELOLAND, in this case, prevent me, Chuck Turbiville, from driving up to talk to you, Austin, and having a gun in my trunk? I'm not an employee obviously. But I will be a visitor and it just seems impossible to regulate and almost impossible to enforce," Turbiville said. 

Feinstein says the bill could also keep new businesses from coming to South Dakota if they have a company-wide no-gun policy.

House Bill 1132 now heads the Senate where Turbiville says some questions still need to be answered.

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