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 the South Dakota legislature officially ended its legislative session, adjourning sine die without passing any gun lobby priorities. After testimony and advocacy from South Dakota Moms Demand Action volunteers, lawmakers rejected and failed to advance dangerous policies to weaken gun laws. This is the second year in a row all dangerous gun bills failed to pass in the state.
“We fought against these dangerous bills like our lives were on the line, because they are,” said Julie Parker, a volunteer with South Dakota Moms Demand Action. “We appreciate that our lawmakers listened to the clear concerns of South Dakotans and law enforcement who oppose weakening our gun laws and putting our communities in danger. While we’re proud of the results of this legislative session, we’re far from finished, and will keep fighting against any attempts to weaken gun safety laws.”
South Dakota legislators rejected House Bill 1131, a bill that would prohibit the implementation of a future Extreme risk law. Extreme risk laws are a critical tool in mitigating gun violence, empowering loved ones and law enforcement to petition for temporary firearm removal from those deemed at risk of harming themselves or others.
Lawmakers also 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. Finally, lawmakers rejected House Bill 1208, a bill to penalize businesses who wish to divest from the firearm industry.
During the 2023 legislative session, South Dakota lawmakers held historic hearings for House Bill 1213, legislation to require the secure storage of firearms; and House Bill 1227, legislation to create an Extreme Risk law, which temporarily removes firearms from those who pose an immediate threat to themselves or others. These are both critical sun safety measures in keeping guns out of the wrong hands. Though both bills failed to pass out of committee, the hearings were a historic step in the right direction for the state.
According to Everytown’s Gun Law Rankings, South Dakota has the sixth-weakest gun laws in the country, with essentially no foundational gun laws, like the requirement of a background check for firearm purchases or a permit to carry a concealed handgun in public. Learn more about gun violence in South Dakota here.