By: South Dakota Gun Owners

RAPID CITY, S.D. (Dec. 3, 2018) – South Dakota Gun Owners and its 18,000 members are calling on Governor-elect Kristi Noem to stand firm in her support for Constitutional Carry legislation.

This call comes on the heels of pressure from a few law enforcement bureaucrats and administrators who oppose such legislation.

Constitutional Carry (such as SB 104 earlier this year, and HB 1072 in 2017) does not change who can carry a firearm, or where it can be carried. It does allow anyone who is legally able to purchase and possess a handgun to carry it without obtaining a government permit.

“While Constitutional Carry enjoys widespread support from the rank-and-file law enforcement community, some law enforcement bureaucrats are openly opposing our Second Amendment rights,” said South Dakota Gun Owners Executive Director Ray Lautenschlager. “SDGO’s 18,000 members are calling on Governor-elect Noem to stand by her pledge and support true Constitutional Carry.”

Governor-elect Kristi Noem pledged to South Dakota during her campaign that she would support Constitutional Carry legislation, but is now facing pressure from top-level law enforcement officials.

Lautenschlager says these law enforcement officials are trying to “pass a straw-man version of Constitutional Carry legislation with concessions that make lawful gun owners felons in some instances and inject resident-only requirements,” which have been ruled unconstitutional in similar circumstances in the courts, such as Smith v. South Dakota in 2011.

Former legislator and current law enforcement officer in Aberdeeen, Dan Kaiser, said that he along with others in the law enforcement community support true Constitutional Carry legislation as public safety measure.

“Ultimately, we know that if more citizens are armed, crime consistently goes down,” Kaiser said. “It’s truly a force-multiplier, allowing more opportunities for people to prevent crime, rather than just respond to it.”

Senator Lance Russell, Senate Judiciary Chairman and Constitutional Carry sponsor, said he is optimistic that true Constitutional Carry will pass this year with newly elected Governor Noem, noting that during the 2017 legislative year Constitutional Carry passed both houses, but was vetoed by Governor Dennis Duagaard.

“Since 2017, we’ve seen a growing amount of support for Constitutional Carry among legislators and their constituents throughout South Dakota,” said Senator Russell. “Now with a Governor that supports our Second Amendment rights, we may have the support we need to finally pass this into law.”

“I think under a new governor it’s very likely to pass,” said Representative, now Senator-elect, Lynne DiSanto who was the prime sponsor of the 2017 Constitutional Carry bill HB 1072.

Governor-elect Noem is expected to take office on January 5, which is three days before the 2019 legislative session begins.

South Dakota Gun Owners was founded in 1988 on the uncompromising principles of supporting our Second Amendment rights, and is the largest “no compromise” gun rights organization today with over 18,000 South Dakota members together with its national affiliate the National Association for Gun Rights.