South Dakota’s new law on concealed pistols doesn’t protect state court administrator’s office

Capitol News Bureau
KELO Concealed Weapon Handgun

PIERRE, S.D. (KELO) — The Legislature’s decision this year to allow some civilians to carry concealed pistols in most parts of South Dakota’s Capitol opens the court administrator’s office but leaves closed other places the South Dakota Supreme Court uses in the building.

The Supreme Court’s five justices held a rule hearing Monday about setting that distinction. They will issue a formal decision in the future.

KELOLAND News sent a reporter, who recorded video of the hearing in the court’s public chamber.

The new law took effect July 1. It requires that a civilian who wants to carry a concealed pistol in the Capitol have an enhanced state permit.

The person also must notify, in writing, the superintendent of the state Highway Patrol at least 24 hours beforehand and make arrangements.

Still generally off-limits are county courthouses, unless county commissions vote to lift the ban, and some parts of the Capitol.

The closed areas of the Capitol include private offices under supervision of security personnel and most places where the Supreme Court operates.

Those are the Supreme Court’s public chamber, where many cases are publicly argued, the justices’ private offices, the Supreme Court clerk’s public and private offices and the court’s private staff offices.

Four South Dakota lawmakers who voted for the new law submitted letters to the court prior to the hearing.

They were House Republican leader Lee Qualm of Platte; Representative Kevin Jensen, R-Canton; Representative Carl Perry, R-Aberdeen; and Representative Tom Pischke, R-Dell Rapids.

The only person to testify Monday was the court administrator, Greg Sattizahn.

He said “the heart” of the new law is defining chamber. He said the issue is drawing a “boundary” designating where concealed pistols are allowed. He said that was why his office wasn’t specifically mentioned.

“That is the reason that was not included there,” Sattizahn said.

Chief Justice David Gilbertson noted during the hearing that he visits all of the Supreme Court’s areas, including the court administrator’s office, on a daily basis when he is at the Capitol.

Governor Kristi Noem held a celebration in the Capitol rotunda January 31, just a baseball toss away from the Supreme Court chamber’s entrance, when she signed legislation repealing South Dakota’s law requiring concealed-carry permits. The measure, SB 47, was the first bill she signed into state law.

She signed the Capitol-carry bill, SB 115, sponsored by Senator Jim Stalzer, R-Sioux Falls, six weeks later on March 18.

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