PIERRE, S.D. (KELO) — HB 1212, one of several bills that were ‘smoked out’ after being killed in committee this session, was signed into law Wednesday. Proponents of the bill say that it will provide clarity on use of force for South Dakotans by simplifying the rules and language.

Opponents of the bill say that it is a full rewrite of existing statutes that removes all precedent, infringes on citizens’ constitutional rights and will allow any South Dakotan to kill anyone, anywhere, for almost any reason

1212, now signed into law, repeals the following statutes:

  • 20-9-8. Right to use force in defense of persons or property.
  • 22-5-9. Resistance to public offenses permitted.
  • 22-16-34. Justifiable homicide–Resisting attempted murder–Resisting felony on person or in dwelling house.
  • 22-16-35. Justifiable homicide–Defense of person–Defense of other persons in household.

Opponents of the bill say that though these statutes did contain some outdated language, such as the line “defense of such person, or of his or her husband, wife, parent, child, master, mistress, or servant,” they still were appropriate and functional laws.

Critics are also concerned the bill circumvents the constitutional right of innocence until guilt is proven by presuming guilt in Section 7.

“A person who unlawfully enters or attempts to enter a person’s dwelling, residence, or occupied vehicle is presumed to be doing so with the intent to commit an unlawful act involving force or violence.”

HB 1212, SECTION 7

Groups that spoke in opposition to HB 1212 include the South Dakota States Attorney’s Association, the South Dakota Trial Lawyers Association, South Dakota Voices for Justice and the South Dakota chapter of Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America.

The bill was originally killed in committee with a vote of 4-2. It was brought back on the Senate floor with a vote of 20-14. It was later passed by the Senate 21-14.

So far, Governor Kristi Noem has signed 203 bills into law this legislative session. In the news release announcing the signing of this and six other bills, posted on the state news website, she made this comment on the measures:

“In South Dakota, we respect the rights of our citizens. This year, the state legislature helped to advance protections for 2nd Amendment rights, property rights, privacy rights, and more. We’re continuing to prove that South Dakota is the best state in America to live, work, and raise a family.”

Gov. Kristi Noem