The South Dakota chapters of Moms Demand Action and Students Demand Action, both part of Everytown for Gun Safety’s grassroots network, released the following statement after South Dakota lawmakers rejected House Bill 1173, legislation that would make it illegal for any public officer or employee of the state, including state and local law enforcement officers, to assist with the enforcement of federal gun safety laws and penalize those who attempt to enforce them.
Lawmakers rejected HB 1173 after hearing testimony from South Dakota Moms Demand Action volunteers, law enforcement officers and public safety advocates, including the South Dakota Sheriffs’ Association, the Department of Public Safety and the South Dakota Highway Patrol, representatives from the South Dakota Police Chiefs Association, the South Dakota State Attorney’s Association, a representative from the Attorney General’s office, and the Sully County Sheriff’s Office.
“We are grateful that once again lawmakers have rejected this bill and listened to South Dakotan citizens and public safety officials who oppose this dangerous measure,” said Julie Parker, a volunteer with the South Dakota chapter of Moms Demand Action. “Our nation is experiencing a gun violence epidemic, and we need to focus on safety measures, like passing secure firearms storage requirements and extreme risk laws, not dismantling some of the few gun safety measures we have left.”
Similar legislation has been introduced over the last couple of legislative cycles. Lawmakers have repeatedly rejected this bill after hearing strong opposition from the law enforcement and public safety community. Federal nullification laws severely limit even the most basic law enforcement cooperation between state and federal entities, potentially preventing South Dakota law enforcement’s participation in federal-state joint task forces and interfering with a broad range of criminal investigations. Law enforcement in other states that have enacted similar policies report experiencing significant challenges. Moms Demand Action volunteers continue to advocate against these dangerous measures.
South Dakota has some of the weakest gun laws in the country, ranking 45th. South Dakota has no law requiring background checks on unlicensed gun sales. State law also allows people to carry hidden, loaded handguns in public without a permit or safety training. South Dakota has a Shoot First law, meaning there is no duty to retreat before using lethal force in public.
This session, South Dakota Lawmakers have the opportunity to pass foundational gun safety laws that will save South Dakotan lives. These include House Bill 1227, an extreme risk protection bill – a critical tool to temporarily remove guns from individuals in crisis who pose a danger to themselves or others, and House Bill 1213, a bill to require firearms to be stored securely to prevent access by juveniles or prohibited individuals. Both bills are scheduled to be heard by the South Dakotan House Judiciary Committee on Monday, February 13, 2023 at 10AM.
Learn more about gun violence in South Dakota here.