PIERRE, S.D. (July 1, 2019) – Today, “Constitutional Carry” went into effect in South Dakota. The new law makes it legal to carry firearms concealed without a license and will also foster an environment more hostile to federal gun control.

Senate President Pro Tempore Brock L. Greenfield introduced Senate Bill 47 (SB47) with eight cosponsors from both chambers. The new law repeals numerous sections of state law requiring people to have a license in order to carry a concealed weapon, while still allowing county sheriffs to issue permits for people who want them for reciprocity with other states.

Under the old law, it was a misdemeanor for someone to carry a concealed pistol or to have one concealed in a vehicle without a permit; openly carrying a firearm in South Dakota was legal. By signing SB47 into law, 155 years of bans or permits on the books have been swept away.

“I believe this legislation will further protect the Second Amendment rights of the citizens of South Dakota and this country,” Gov. Kristi Noem said when she signed the bill.

Over strong opposition from the South Dakota Sheriffs’ Association, the bill passed the Senate Judiciary Committee by a razor-thin margin. The 4-3 committee vote sent the bill to debate and a 23-11 vote by the Senate. After the House Judiciary Committee approved the bill with a 10-3 vote, the full House concurred with a vote of 47-23. With Gov. Noem’s signature, the bill went into effect on July 1.

Former Gov. Dennis Daugaard rejected similar measures in the past, but supporters pushed for a change with the election of a new governor.

“More than 230 years ago, the Founding Fathers of our country penned the Constitution that has since laid the framework for centuries of policies. They so firmly believed in the importance of the freedom to bear arms that they enshrined it into the Constitution’s Second Amendment,” said Noem at a signing ceremony. “This constitutional carry legislation will further protect the Second Amendment rights of South Dakotans.”


While permitless carry bills do not directly affect federal gun control, the widespread passage of permitless conceal carry laws in states subtly undermines federal efforts to regulate guns. As we’ve seen with marijuana and industrial hemp, a federal regulation becomes ineffective when states ignore it and pass laws encouraging the prohibited activity anyway.

The federal government lacks the enforcement power necessary to maintain its ban, and people will willingly take on the small risk of federal sanctions if they know the state will not interfere. This increases when the state actively encourages “the market.”

Less restrictive state gun laws will likely have a similar impact on federal gun laws. It will make it that much more difficult for the feds to enforce any future federal gun control, and increase the likelihood that states with few limits will simply refuse to cooperate with federal enforcement efforts.

State actions such as passing SB47 lowers barriers for those wanting to the option of defending themselves with firearms and encourages a “gun-friendly” environment that makes federal efforts to limit firearms that much more difficult.

Mike Maharrey

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