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     Gun rights: “The Constitution guarantees the individual’s right to keep and bear arms. I am a strong supporter of the Second Amendment.” – Gov. Kristi Noem

If you grew up in South Dakota, guns were part of the culture.

They still are, more than ever.

But I am happy, or at least relieved, that I’m not in the state Legislature and confronted with voting on proposals dealing with guns, gun permits, and conceal/carry. I counted nine bills dealing with firearms.

I mean, should it be legal to carry a gun on a snowmobile or not? House Bill 1054 clarifies the law for utility-terrain vehicles.

Last week, at least one gun bill made it through the grinder, Senate Bill 47, which allows carrying a concealed weapon without a permit.

I listened to the discussion on this bill and honestly, I resembled a stalk of wheat in a summer breeze. Leaning one way, then the other, depending on which argument was being made.

Sure, I believe in the Second Amendment, which has been around since 1791:

“A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.”

Pretty straightforward isn’t it? However, proponents of SB47 say that the state requirement to buy a permit to conceal a gun is an infringement. Maybe they are right, although as a permit carrier myself, I’ve never considered the $10 fee or the 10 minutes it takes to obtain one an infringement. But I can see the point.

Opponents say SB47 will make it easier for criminals and other ne’re-do-wells to carry guns on their person and that the permit requirement helps guard against that. Proponents say criminals don’t care about laws and will carry guns anyhow.

You can see how it goes.

The issue has divided the Republicans in Pierre. Though the bill passed, a significant number of Republicans voted against it, both in the Senate and House. Generally, the Republicans who voted “no” were moderate to left leaning; center to right-leaning Republicans favored it.

For example, Brock Greenfield, R-Clark, President Pro Tem of the Senate, sponsored the bill and spoke persuasively for it. Sen. Lee Schoenbeck, R-Watertown, and also an experienced lawmaker, spoke against it, citing among other things, opposition from law enforcement.

We’re into February now, and the hope from this corner is we’ll have adequate time for other controversial matters, such as HB1156, which would change the official state musical instrument – the fiddle – to the accordion.

I see a fight coming.

Feb. 6, 2019