Last year, Rep. Don Kopp sponsored a bill abolishing the requirement to have a state permit in order to carry a concealed handgun.
It was assigned to the House State Affairs Committee, and killed in its first hearing. Most controversially, several lawmakers stated openly that one reason they were voting against the bill was because it was sponsored by the activist group South Dakota Gun Owners, who have drawn the ire of establishment Republicans over the years.
Rep. Betty Olson then brought a similar bill, allowing anyone with a valid driver’s license to carry a concealed weapon. That bill passed both houses, only to be vetoed by Gov. Dennis Daugaard.
Now Rep. Lance Russell is bringing another bill, very similar to Kopp’s from last year. Like his, it’s backed by the SDGO. Unlike Kopp’s bill, it’s been assigned to the House Local Government Committee by House Speaker Brian Gosch — who, interestingly, said last year he was voting against Kopp’s bill because of the Gun Owners’ support.
Will Russell’s bill suffer the same fate as Kopp? If it does, will lawmakers openly state their opposition to the South Dakota Gun Owners from the podium, as they did last year?
The House Local Government Committee will take up the measure in just a few minutes.