Bill forbidding federal gun restrictions passes SD committee

A bill opposed to “all dilution and diminution of Second Amendment rights" is headed to the South Dakota Senate.

Senate Bill 207 passed the Senate State Affairs Committee 8-1 Wednesday. It’s a “legislative finding”, a declaration of the Legislature’s opinion, that declares “the Founding Fathers freely and willingly abjured all legislative and executive authority to regulate gun ownership and usage, as well as the related issue of the maintenance and armament of state militias, to individual citizens and the states respectively.”

It also directs the state’s attorney general to “be vigilant and proactive in protecting, by litigation if necessary, the rights of South Dakota and its citizens against all dilution and diminution of Second Amendment rights from whatever source and by whatever means.”

Sen. Larry Rhoden, R-Union Center, said the bill is “designed to be a constructive, conservative and reasoned reaffirmation of our Second Amendment rights.”

Attorney General Marty Jackley supported the bill “based on its appreciation for the Second Amendment.”

Sen. Craig Tieszen, R-Rapid City, worried that the language in the bill was overbroad. 

"My understanding of constitutional law is that all of our constitutional rights are subject to balancing by the courts and subject to some reasonable restrictions," Tieszen said. "It seems to me to be a little strong and contrary to what i understand our constitutional rights to be."

But Jackley said his reading of the bill in its entirety was that it did not prohibit regulation. He referred to the phrase in the bill opposed to “federal initiatives directed at the restriction of gun ownership and the right of self defense”, not reasonable regulation.

Sen. Larry Lucas, D-Mission, was the lone no vote. Lucas said the bill would end up entangling South Dakota in costly lawsuits against the federal government.