Noem tries to besmirch Smith for firearms votes

Concealed Carry


NOTE TO READERS: This is one of several reports that look at what the candidates for South Dakota governor are emphasizing on their campaign websites ahead of the November 8 general election.

PIERRE, S.D. (KELO) — On firearms, Libertarian Tracey Quint might support the fewest restrictions among the trio battling to become South Dakota’s next governor.

Quint wants to have Congress repeal the National Firearms Act, and have the Legislature repeal a state law so that all teachers have the right to carry firearms in schools, and tell the state Board of Regents to change a policy so that college students can carry firearms on college campuses. She fully supports South Dakota’s recent decision to allow concealed-carry without needing a state permit.

That isn’t too far beyond what Republican candidate Kristi Noem has tried to do during her four years in the Legislature and, most recently, during her four years as governor.

While in the state House of Representatives more than a decade ago, Noem voted to prohibit state universities and businesses from keeping firearms off their properties. As governor, she’s signed into law legislation that prohibits local governments from enforcing firearms ordinances that are stricter than state laws. She’s also signed into law legislation that allows concealed weapons in county courthouses and the state Capitol.

And Noem signed into law legislation that allows any adult to carry a concealed pistol without a permit. The Democratic candidate for governor, state Representative Jamie Smith, voted against that 2019 concealed-carry legislation.

South Dakota kept its concealed-carry permitting system in place despite the 2019 repeal of the need for a permit. What that means is someone in South Dakota who qualifies for a permit can get one for use in another state. But Noem this year got legislation passed that repeals the permit fees and has the secretary of state reimburse counties based on the number of permits issued by year. Smith voted for that.

On his campaign’s website, Smith specifically addresses gun ownership and tries to combat how Noem has been trying to belittle him.

I am a proud, responsible gun owner. South Dakota has a rich history of firearm use in hunting and gun sports, and I want to build on this tradition to ensure a safe future for all South Dakotans. I believe in a common sense approach to gun ownership, which includes making sure that dangerous criminals and people with mental illness are not able to use guns to commit violent crimes while also protecting the rights of law-abiding citizens in South Dakota,” his site says.

Noem has often shown herself with gun or rifle in hand wearing hunter’s colors of blaze-orange or camouflage. Her Twitter account in recent months has included images of her visiting a gun shop and a silencer manufacturer. Her tweets contained statements such as “We’re the most 2nd Amendment-friendly state in America!” and has shown her hunting pheasants.

In several other tweets, she’s warned voters that Smith will be “confiscating your guns” and that he “supports this type of anti-2nd Amendment incoherent rhetoric. He has an F rating from the NRA to prove it.”

A check of his Twitter account doesn’t show Smith ever responding to Noem’s tweets about his positions on guns.

Noem, who for a time was an owner of a commercial pheasant-hunting operation, has somewhat changed the philosophy at the state Department of Game, Fish and Parks since she took office as governor. The department stopped its summer brood-count survey of pheasants and added a nest-predator trapping program in the spring. She also moved the Governor’s Pheasant Hunt to Sioux Falls from Pierre.

Noem’s campaign website lists 15 policy areas, from “Combatting Biden’s Inflation” to “Protecting Life” — but nothing about firearms or pheasants. On the other hand, she issued a news release in 2019 saying the constitutional-carry bill was the first she signed.

To provide a more detailed portrayal of their positions specifically on firearms regulations, KELOLAND News assembled a list of firearms-related legislation that involved either Noem or Smith or, during the past four years, both. The list covers Noem’s four years in the state House of Representatives, when Mike Rounds was governor, and Smith’s six years in the state House, when Dennis Daugaard and then Noem have been governors.

Noem’s time in the state House coincided with four of the 16 years that Republican Larry Rhoden served in the Legislature. Rhoden moved from the House in 2007-2008 to the Senate for 2009-2010. He now is Noem’s lieutenant governor and the Senate’s president. As legislators, Rhoden and Noem sponsored or co-sponsored several proposals.

Here’s a year-by-year look at the records of Noem and Smith in Pierre.

2022 

SB 175 – fund a shooting range near Rapid City. Bill passed Senate, failed in House. Smith voted no. Noem wanted the project.

SB 212 – removed handgun fees and directed Secretary of State Office to reimburse counties. Noem’s bill passed Senate and House. Smith voted yes. Noem signed into law.

HB 1052 — place limitations on the enforcement of federal laws and orders related to firearms, accessories, and ammunition. Bill died in House. Smith voted no.

HB 1072 — revise the safety zone within which a firearm may be discharged or trapping activities may occur. Bill died in House. Smith voted no.

HB 1162 – define a loaded firearm. Bill passed House and Senate. Smith voted yes. Noem signed into law.

2021 

SB 100 – continue the prohibition on seizure of firearms and ammunition. Bill passed Senate and House. Smith voted no. Noem signed into law.

SB 111 – reduce the fee for permits to carry concealed pistols. Bill passed Senate and House. Smith voted yes. Noem signed into law.  

HB 1043 — provide enhanced permit criteria for current and former law enforcement officers. Passed both House and Senate. Smith voted yes. Noem signed into law.

HB 1075 — limit directives and incentives for extreme risk protection orders and to provide a penalty. Passed House, failed in Senate. Smith voted no.

HB 1112 — revise the safety zone within which a firearm may be discharged. Failed in House. Smith voted no.

HB 1212 – clarify use of force. Passed House and Senate. Smith voted no. Noem signed into law.

2020 

SB 98 — extend the notification period for possession of a concealed pistol in the state capitol. Passed Senate and House. Smith voted yes. Noem signed into law.

SB 120 – establish exceptions regarding the possession of a pistol by a minor. Passed Senate and House. Smith voted yes. Noem signed into law.

SB 169 — authorize the possession of a concealed pistol by employees in county courthouses. Passed Senate and House. Smith voted no. Noem signed into law.

HB 1094 — repeal certain provisions regarding permits for concealed pistols. Passed House and Senate. Smith voted yes. Noem signed into law.

HB 1138 — establish shooting course requirements for current or former law enforcement officers seeking an enhanced permit to carry a concealed pistol. Passed House and Senate. Smith voted yes. Noem signed into law.

HB 1152 — provide financial assistance for school sentinel training. Passed House, failed in Senate committee. Smith voted no.

HB 1182 — provide for the renewal of an enhanced permit to carry a concealed pistol. Passed House and Senate. Smith voted yes. Noem signed into law.

HB 1242 — provide for the reissuance of certain enhanced permits to carry a concealed pistol and to declare an emergency. Passed House and Senate. Smith voted yes. Noem signed into law.

2019 

SB 47 — repeal and revise certain provisions regarding permits to carry a concealed pistol. Passed Senate and House. Smith voted no. Noem signed into law.

SB 115 — authorize the conditional carrying of a concealed pistol in the state capitol by certain persons. Passed Senate and House. Smith voted no. Noem signed into law.

HB 1054 — revise certain provisions regarding the possession of firearms on certain vehicles. Passed House and Senate. Smith voted yes. Noem signed into law.

HB 1056 — prohibit certain local ordinances regarding firearms. Passed House and Senate. Smith voted no. Noem signed into law.

HB 1173 — permit the possession of firearms by certain employees. Failed in House. Smith voted no.

2018 

HB 1083 — revise certain provisions regarding permits to carry a concealed pistol and to declare an emergency. Passed House and Senate. Smith voted yes. Daugaard signed into law.

HB 1209 — require a National Instant Criminal Background Check for certain concealed carry permits. Passed House and Senate. Smith voted yes. Daugaard signed into law.

2017 

HB 1072 — repeal and revise certain provisions relating to permits to carry a concealed pistol. Passed House and Senate. Smith excused from vote. Daugaard vetoed. Veto override failed in House, with Smith voting to sustain the veto.

HB 1091 — modify certain provisions relating to concealed carry permits. Passed House and Senate. Smith voted yes. Daugaard signed into law.

HB 1127 — revise the procedure for a deployed military service member to renew a concealed carry permit. Passed House and Senate. Smith voted yes. Daugaard signed into law.

HB 1135 — provide certain provisions requiring plaintiffs in certain civil suits to cover certain court costs. Failed in House committee. House refused to put on debate calendar. Smith excused from vote.

HB 1147 — revise certain provisions regarding concealed carry permits and to declare an emergency. Passed House and Senate. Smith voted yes. Daugaard signed into law.

HB 1156 — allow a concealed pistol in the capitol with an enhanced concealed pistol permit. Passed House and Senate. Smith voted no. Daugaard vetoed. Veto override failed in House, with Smith voting to sustain veto.

HB 1211 — provide for a grace period after the expiration of a permit and a warning ticket for carrying a concealed pistol while in possession of an expired permit. Passed House and Senate. Smith voted yes. Daugaard signed into law.

2010 

SB 89 — exempt from federal regulation any firearm, firearm accessory, or ammunition manufactured and retained in South Dakota. (Rhoden/Noem sponsored.) Passed Senate and House. Noem, Rhoden voted yes. Rounds signed into law.

HB 1139 — clarify the application of common law civil trespass on agricultural land and to provide for the recovery of liquidated damages against trespassers. (Noem a co-sponsor.) Failed in House committee.

HB 1169 — prohibit businesses and employers from establishing certain policies against the ability of an invitee or employee to store firearms and ammunition in a locked motor vehicle parked on the premises. Failed in House. Noem voted yes.

2009 

SB 33 — revise certain provisions regarding permission to carry a concealed pistol and to repeal certain requirements concerning applications to purchase a pistol. Passed Senate and House. Noem, Rhoden voted yes. Rounds signed into law.  

SB 70 — repeal the provision requiring a forty-eight hour waiting period to purchase a pistol. (Rhoden/Noem sponsored.) Passed Senate and House. Noem, Rhoden voted yes. Rounds signed into law.

HB 1278 — revise certain provisions prohibiting political subdivisions from restricting firearms. Passed House, failed in Senate. Noem voted yes. Rhoden was part of 34-0 vote to kill it in Senate.

2008 

HB 1261 — regulate the right to carry a firearm on the campuses of public institutions of higher education. (Noem, Rhoden co-sponsors.) Passed House, failed in Senate. Noem, Rhoden voted yes. Bill’s first line summarized its intent: “No public institution of higher education may regulate or restrict the right to carry or possess a firearm in accordance with state law.”

2007 

The Legislative Research Council’s bill summary didn’t show a heading for firearms bills or concealed-carry bills. Searches for words “rifle” and “pistol” also came back without results. 



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