South Dakota governor vetoes bills loosening state concealed carry laws

South Dakota governor vetoes bills loosening state concealed carry laws
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South Dakota Gov. Dennis Daugaard (R) on Friday vetoed two measures that would have loosened gun restrictions, arguing that the state's current laws were already adequate.

One of the bills would have allowed individuals to carry concealed weapons without a permit, while the other would have allowed those with enhanced concealed carry permits to bring their weapon inside the state capitol.

"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," Daugaard wrote in a letter to state lawmakers accompanying his veto of the first measure.

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"Our permit laws are effective in screening people who are not eligible to carry a concealed weapon," he asserted.

In another letter sent along with his veto of the measure allowing concealed carry inside the capitol, Daugaard argued that existing security was adequate and that other individuals carrying weapons would only complicate their work.

"On any given day, the array of people found in our historic State Capitol building includes elected officials, tourists, state employees, and school children," he wrote. "The protection we have in the building, from law enforcement officers in uniform or plain clothes, provides a secure environment."

"I am satisfied that our Highway Patrol is doing its job, and their important work would be made more difficult if others are allowed to carry weapons into the Capitol."

Daugaard expressed his support for gun rights, saying that he is a "longtime member" of the National Rifle Association, the country's largest firearms advocacy group. He argued the state's current laws are already simple, allowing individuals to obtain permits within "minutes."