South Dakota Governor Signs Bills to Protect Gun Rights

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Republican South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem signed into law three bills concerning gun ownership and the use of deadly force earlier this week, fortifying Second Amendment protections for gun owners in the state.

The laws include restrictions for gun seizure and fee reductions for concealed-carry permits, as well as clarification for the use of deadly force for self-defense—also known as the “stand your ground” law.

“A person is justified in using or threatening to use deadly force if the person reasonably believes that using or threatening to use deadly force is necessary to prevent imminent death or great bodily harm to himself, herself, or another, or to prevent the imminent commission of a forcible felony,” reads House Bill 1212.

“A person who uses or threatens to use deadly force in accordance with this section does not have a duty to retreat and has the right to stand his or her ground, if the person using or threatening to use the deadly force is (1) Not engaged in a criminal activity; and (2) In a place where the person has a right to be,” the legislation states.

The state GOP’s move to fortify the Second Amendment comes in the wake of recent shootings in Atlanta, Georgia, and Boulder, Colorado, that have prompted fresh calls from gun control activists for more restrictions.

Democrats, who control both the House and the Senate, have moved aggressively to tighten gun control laws, passing two bills in the House pertaining to firearms background checks. In the Senate, the bills would likely have to clear the 60-vote filibuster hurdle. The background check expansion laws would place additional restrictions on the sale or transfer of guns.

H.R. 8, also known as the Bipartisan Background Checks Act of 2021, passed 227–203, with eight Republicans voting for it and one Democrat voting against it. The added restrictions include a provision that sales, gifts, and loans of firearms must be processed by a licensed gun dealer.

Ranking Member Joe Manchin
Ranking Member Joe Manchin, D-WV, speaks during a hearing to examine the nomination of Former Michigan Governor Jennifer Granholm to be Secretary of Energy, on Capitol Hill in Washington on Jan. 27, 2021. (Jim Watson/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)

Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.), perhaps the most centrist Democrat in the Senate, doesn’t support the recent background check expansion bills.

“Not at all,” Manchin told reporters after being asked about whether he supports the reform attempt.

“I come from a gun culture and I’m a law-abiding gun owner,” Manchin told reporters, stating that he supports background checks on sales of guns to people the seller doesn’t know.

“But if I know a person, no,” Manchin said.

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