NRA State Affiliate for
South Dakota Says:
“If you’re going to
carry in an enclosed motor vehicle, you better have a permit.”
Dakota Gun Owners E-mail Alert
PO Box 3845, Rapid City, SD 57709
February 17, 2004
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HB 1247 would have repealed the requirement to obtain a permit before carrying a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. 
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.
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.