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Letter to Val Rausch Speaker of the House of Representatives; Veto Message for HB1248


Location: Pierre, SD

Gov. Dennis Daugaard has vetoed the following bill:

HB1248 -- An Act to provide for exceptions from certain misdemeanor offenses related to possession of handguns.

For more information about this and other bills, please visit


Note: A copy of Governor Daugaard's veto message follows.

March 16, 2012
The Honorable Val Rausch
Speaker of the House of Representatives
500 East Capitol Avenue
Pierre, SD 57501-5070

Dear Mr. Speaker and Members of the House of Representatives:

I herewith return to you House Bill 1248 with my VETO. House Bill 1248 is entitled, "An Act to provide for exceptions from certain misdemeanor offenses relating to possession of handguns."

I support our citizens' right to possess a concealed handgun under our current laws. I ask you to sustain this veto because HB 1248 creates an exception to South Dakota's firm, fair and reasonable concealed carry permit process. This exception weakens the reasonable protections currently in place, and it could lead to confusion and to longer and more frequent detainment of innocent citizens who choose to carry a concealed weapon.

South Dakota law already allows law-abiding citizens to carry a concealed weapon. The simple, straightforward permit process allows law enforcement to ensure that those who carry concealed weapons do not fall under one of the state's narrow exceptions. Each year, locally-elected sheriffs deny permits, in most cases because the applicant has a serious criminal history. Under this bill, those who are prohibited from carrying a concealed weapon would no longer be informed of that fact. Understandably, law enforcement officials from across South Dakota have objected to this bill.

This bill will also result in longer and more frequent detention of those who legally carry a concealed weapon. Absent a permit requirement, law enforcement would not be able to ascertain whether an individual is "otherwise eligible to be issued a permit to carry a concealed pistol." If this bill becomes law, innocent citizens could be detained by law enforcement and subjected to time-consuming criminal and mental health background checks.

Even if this bill becomes law, those who wish to conceal a weapon in another state would, in almost all cases, still be required to have a concealed carry permit. Repealing that requirement in South Dakota could lead to our citizens being arrested in other states because of an honest misunderstanding as to whether they are lawfully entitled to carry a concealed weapon in that state.

This bill is a solution searching for a problem. South Dakota's current permit process is simple and straightforward, and permits can be obtained in a matter of minutes. The current process preserves Second Amendment rights while respecting concerns for public safety, in particular the safety of law enforcement officers who put themselves at risk to protect us.

It is paramount that our state protects the rights of our citizens while at the same time protecting the lives of our citizens. I believe our current laws appropriately protect both interests, and I respectfully request that you sustain my veto.
Respectfully submitted,

Dennis Daugaard

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