House members from District 8 were split on a bill that Gov. Kristi Noem signed into law last week making it legal for residents to carry a concealed gun without a permit.
Rep. Marlie Wiese voted against the bill, and Rep. Randy Gross voted in favor of the change. Earlier, when the bill was considered in the Senate, Sen. Jordan Youngberg voted yes on the bill. All are Republicans.
The bill, the first signed into law by newly elected Gov. Noem, will go into effect July 1.
Support of the bill came despite Moody County Sheriff Troy Wellman’s opposition. At a legislative forum on Jan. 25, he asked the lawmakers to work with the state sheriff’s association to come up with a bill that law enforcement could stomach. “I have never heard complaints about the current system,” Wellman said.
Residents apply with the sheriff’s office in the county where they live, undergo a background check and pay $10 for the permit.
Wiese said she agreed that permits are inexpensive and easy to obtain. “I think it gives law enforcement somewhere to start. I still think it’s a good system,” she said.
Youngberg called the change a “hot button issue,” and said the original bill has flaws. Gross asked Wellman how much discretion he has in issuing the permits, and Wellman said there is a little bit but under statue, decisions are “fairly black or white.”
South Dakotans can open carry a gun without a permit and until July need a permit to carry a concealed firearm. Once the law changes in July, residents still may apply for a concealed carry permit in order to have reciprocity with other states.