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SD legislators uphold governor's veto of permitless firearm bill

PIERRE, S.D.—South Dakota lawmakers failed to override Gov. Dennis Daugaard's veto of a bill that would allow carrying of concealed weapons in South Dakota without a permit.

To override Daugaard's veto a two-thirds majority was needed in the heavily Republican legislature, however, only 36 legislators voted Monday to override while 33 voted to sustain the veto.

This legislation would have allowed South Dakotans to carry a firearm openly or concealed, without having to pay the government a fee for a permit. It passed the House on Feb. 24, the Senate on March 6, with Daugaard vetoing the bill on March 17.

Gun rights groups were upset. Dudley Brown, president of the National Association for Gun Rights, said in a statement, "Over two dozen self-proclaimed pro-gun Republicans turned their backs on the Second Amendment. Instead of fighting the veto of Gov. Daugaard, these legislators voted against the opportunity for South Dakota to become the 13th Constitutional Carry state."

Brown added, "The cowardly actions of Gov. Daugaard and the House members who stood against their constituent's gun rights will not be forgotten."

In his veto message, however, Daugaard said, " I am unaware of a single instance in which a person who could lawfully possess a gun was denied a permit to carry a concealed pistol. Our permit laws are effective in screening people who are not eligible to carry a concealed weapon. Over the last three years, Minnehaha and Pennington Counties have turned down nearly 600 permit applicants who were disqualified due to mental illness or due to violent or drug-related crimes"

Daugaard had the support of the South Dakota Sheriffs Association, the South Dakota Police Chiefs Association, the South Dakota State's Attorneys Association, and the South Dakota Fraternal Order of Police.

He added in asking legislators to uphold his veto, " As a longtime member of the NRA, I support the right to bear arms. South Dakota's current permit process is simple and straightforward, and permits can be obtained in a matter of minutes. It is paramount that our state protect the rights of our citizens while at the same time protecting the lives of our citizens."

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