PIERRE, S.D. (AP) — A South Dakota House panel advanced a proposal Thursday that would add a year to the state's concealed weapons permit, but the sponsor of the plan acknowledged other gun-law changes he's seeking won't be approved this year.
The Local Government Committee voted unanimously to increase the permits from four years to five years, sending it on to the full House. The Senate approved the bill earlier.
The measure's main sponsor, Sen. Larry Rhoden, R-Union Center, said he had hoped to use the bill to make other changes in South Dakota's gun laws, but those additional changes cannot be made this year because additional study is needed.
Rhoden said he eventually wants to change the law so that once people get concealed weapons permits they would not have to undergo separate background checks every time they buy a gun. That would require issuing concealed weapons permits based on the same database used to approve gun sales.
The National Instant Criminal Background Check system is used when someone buys a gun, but South Dakota's county sheriffs use a different database when checking whether someone is qualified to get a concealed weapons permit, Rhoden said. Some other states use the National Instant Criminal Background Check system to issue concealed weapons permits, which means no separate check is needed when permit holders buy guns, he said.
Rhoden said he also wants to make it possible for South Dakota mental health facilities to report the names of people with mental problems to the national system used to determine who can buy guns. Other states provide mental health information to that system, he said.
Rhoden said he is working with the governor's office, the attorney general's office and the secretary of state so those changes can be proposed to the Legislature next year.
"It became apparent that we shouldn't rush into this," Rhoden said.
Matt Konenkamp, an aide to Gov. Dennis Daugaard, testified in favor of making concealed weapons permits valid for five years, which prompted Rep. Stace Nelson, R-Fulton, to ask why the governor's office supported that bill after opposing three other gun-related measures earlier in the legislative session.
Nelson said one of those bills would have directed state agencies not to enforce any presidential executive orders that would ban firearms or require registration of guns.
Konenkamp said the governor's office judges each bill on its specific details. He said at least one of the bills opposed by the governor's office earlier had constitutional problems.