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NRA State Affiliate for South Dakota Says:

“If you’re going to carry in an enclosed motor vehicle, you better have a permit.”

South Dakota Gun Owners E-mail Alert
PO Box 3845, Rapid City, SD 57709
(605) 737-5583

Tuesday, February 17, 2004

RAPID CITY, South Dakota -- The law denying your right to carry a handgun for self-defense in a vehicle will remain intact, thanks to a sweeping amendment to HB 1247.

Originally, HB 1247 would have repealed the requirement to obtain a permit before carrying a handgun concealed in a vehicle for self-defense. But surprisingly, David Conway, lobbyist for NRA affiliated South Dakota Shooting Sports Association, opposed this pro-gun bill in committee, stating that he had a problem with repealing the permit requirement.

“If you’re going to carry in an enclosed motor vehicle, you better have a permit,” Mr. Conway stated. He then brought an amendment, supported by the NRA, which completely wiped out the pro-gun language of HB 1247 and replaced it with a minor adjustment to current law.

The only change the Conway amendment makes is to allow a handgun carried in a closed compartment to be loaded. Current law (SDCL 22-14-10) allows a person without a permit to carry only an unloaded handgun in a closed compartment or container too large to be concealed.

By destroying HB 1247’s pro-gun Right to Arms in Vehicles language, the Conway amendment helped politicians sidestep the real issue – that bearing arms for self-defense while in your vehicle is a right, not a government granted privilege. [1]

The Conway amendment was moved and promoted by Rep. Larry Rhoden, who betrayed his desire to avoid a recorded vote on the strongly pro-gun Right to Arms in Vehicles bill when he stated, “For the benefit of this committee, and all members involved, I would suggest that we move this amendment forward, turn a – I believe – a clearly lousy bill into a very good bill.”

Following the lead of Conway and Rhoden, the House State Affairs committee adopted the amendment by an unrecorded voice vote. This vote to adopt the Conway amendment was a vote to kill the pro-gun Right to Arms in Vehicles bill. Thus, the Conway amendment provided the perfect political cover-up for an anti-gun vote.

HB 1247 as amended has passed both the committee and the House of Representatives and currently awaits a hearing before the Senate.

South Dakota’s current permit requirement violates Art. 6, sec. 24 of the South Dakota Constitution by delaying the exercise of the right to bear arms in self-defense until a government permit is first obtained. Based on the US Supreme Court opinion that “a right delayed is a right denied,” it is clear that the permit requirement is an unconstitutional prior restraint on the right to bear arms.