Saturday, February 04, 2006

Concealed carry in South Dakota

It looks like CCW licenses in South Dakota will no longer be public knowledge:
The South Dakota House overwhelmingly passed a bill Wednesday that would afford confidentiality to people who apply for and receive concealed weapons permits.

Only police could have access to that information and share it with other law enforcement agencies. The data are kept by the secretary of state.

Rep. Margaret Gillespie, D-Hudson, said driver's license records are secret and concealed weapons records should be, too. She questioned why the public needs to know who carries hidden handguns.

But Rep. Bill Thompson, D-Sioux Falls, said the information can come in handy. Thompson said he always reads the names of applicants in the Argus Leader. The Sioux Falls-based newspaper routinely publishes a list of those people.

Thompson, a retired teacher, said he once saw the name of a student he considered mentally unstable and informed the school principal.

Gun records should not be public, argued Rep. Larry Rhoden, R-Union Center.

Rhoden, who is the House majority leader, said people without weapons permits can also be threats. The U.S. Constitution allows the right to bear arms, he said.

'To have a false sense of security, because somebody has not applied for a firearm, that they don't have a firearm is totally off the mark,' he said.
Exactly. Armed criminals aren't required to publish their names. Why should armed law-abiding citizens?

I can take this opportunity to mention an odd quirk in the Texas CHL law. An entire list of all those who hold a CHL is not publicly available. However, anyone can request such information on a specific individual, for which they will get a yes or no answer. If anyone other than a criminal justice agency requests this information, the CHL holder is notified and given the name of the person or agency who made the request. (ref. Texas Concealed Handgun Laws Frequently Asked Questions [pdf file]).

We have not had any problems with people being "outed" in Texas, as far as I know. But we are working on getting rid even of this measure of non-anonymity.

UPDATE: A version of the Stand Your Ground bill seems to be moving forward in SD, as well.