SD Senate panel backs bill to allow permitless concealed carry

PIERRE, S.D. (AP) - A state Senate panel has endorsed a bill that would allow people who can legally carry a concealed handgun in South Dakota to do so without a permit.

The Senate Judiciary Committee voted 5-2 Tuesday to advance the bill to the chamber's floor. It would also have to move through the state House to reach Gov. Dennis Daugaard.

The Republican governor rejected a similar proposal last year, saying that the state's permit process is simple and straightforward.

GOP Sen. Lance Russell, the bill's sponsor, says the measure has worked in other states.

It is currently a misdemeanor for someone to carry a concealed pistol or to have one concealed in a vehicle without a permit.

At the end of December, over 100,000 people in South Dakota had concealed carry permits.

North Dakota joined at least a dozen other states in 2017 that allow people to carry a handgun without a permit.

The new law passed in the spring of 2017 during the legislative session and is known as constitutional carry.

The constitutional carry law does have a few requirements.

"You have to have a valid state drivers license, you have to be inside the state limits of North Dakota and you have to be able to purchase and legally posses a firearm," explained Bill's Gun Shop and Range General Manager, Brent Brattlof.

The new law still does not allow people to carry at schools, sporting events and publicly owned or operated buildings. But Brattlof says it does not mean people can buy a gun without a background check.

"You can't just walk in and walk out the door like you are buying a coffee cup," stated Brattlof.

Brattlof says constitutional carry allows people to carry ammo and handguns together but they can't be loaded.

"We don't necessarily condone just for safety reasons," explained Brattlof.

People can still apply for their conceal and carry permit and will need it, if they decide to go out of state with their weapon.

"There is a lot to learn and a lot to know," Brattlof stated.

Brattlof says his store is offering constitutional carry classes so North Dakotan's can learn the basics.

"Its just informative, it's two hours of information pushed your way as far as what to know and not know," said Brattloff.

The classes are $20 and they go over what to do if police interact with you while carrying a firearm.