Anti-gunners in and outside of South Dakota cringed Thursday when recently-sworn Gov. Kristi Noem signed legislation that legalizes concealed carry without a permit, beginning July 1.
The Mount Rushmore State becomes the 14th state to allow so-called “Constitutional Carry,” and not everyone is happy about it. According to KSFY News, a spokesperson for a local chapter of the anti-gun Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America declared, “We are frustrated and embarrassed that Governor Noem has decided to sign this into law.”
Shannon Hoime told the news agency, “I think it’s really dangerous and I’m frustrated that this has turned into a political issue instead of what the American public and the South Dakotans realize is a public safety issue.”
Sheriffs in the state also reportedly opposed the legislation, but Gov. Noem, who took office earlier in January, was quoted by The Hill observing, “I believe this legislation will further protect the Seconds Amendment rights of the citizens of South Dakota and this country.”
During the campaign last year, Noem reported indicated her support for constitutional carry, explaining that she would have to study any legislation that reached her desk. She evidently did that before taking pen in hand during her first bill signing ceremony.
The gun prohibition lobby has predicted dire consequences in the past when pro-rights legislation was passed, while proponents contended that such laws would level the field for law-abiding citizens. According to the FBI Uniform Crime Report for 2017, the most recent year for which data is available, South Dakota experienced 21 slayings that year, of which only eight involved firearms.
It will still be illegal for criminals to carry guns.
The National Rifle Association’s chief lobbyist Chris Cox said, “This law is a common sense measure that allows law-abiding South Dakotans to exercise their fundamental right to self-protection in the manner that best suits their needs.”
The bill signing provided a sharp contrast to activities in other parts of the country where anti-gun Democrats hold governors’ offices. In New York, Gov. Andrew Cuomo has championed increasingly restrictive gun control laws throughout his tenure. He was elected to a third term last fall, and earlier this week he lauded passage of a half-dozen new gun control measures.
At the far west end of the country, the Democrat-dominated Washington Legislature is moving fast on several gun bills, including one that creates new red tape requirements to obtain a concealed pistol license. More than 612,000 CPLs are now active, according to the state Department of Licensing. Democrat Gov. Jay Inslee is believed likely to sign any of the gun control measures that reach his desk.