Bill proposes allowing elected officials to carry weapons - KSFY News - Sioux Falls, SD News, Weather, Sports

Bill proposes allowing elected officials to carry concealed weapons in courthouses

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Some state lawmakers who worry about their safety want the right to carry guns while on public property.

A new house bill would allow state legislators to arm themselves while visiting the Capitol or county courthouses.

If you've ever been inside the Minnehaha County courthouse, you know the drill.

Empty your pockets of all metal objects.

And guns?

They're not allowed.

Of course court officers are armed, but this new bill HB 1066, proposes elected officials should also be allowed to carry a concealed weapon.

Minnehaha County Sheriff Mike Milstead said "we have armed security we screen everyone, we put equipment through the magnetometer and our goal is to make sure the interior of this courthouse is a safe place for anyone."

State representative Dan Kaiser said "I think the bigger argument was that lawmakers just felt that your rights should not be suspended at the capitol or our courthouses."

Across South Dakota, many county courthouses like this one in Davison County lack metal detectors.  Anyone can walk right in without being searched for weapons. There's no metal detector here. The only line of defense is this sign.

Courthouse visitor Garry Cox said "a gun keeps people safe. You don't want to be in a situation where you need to use it per se but in case that happens, I'd rather have somebody that's basically been vetted out.

Courthouse visitor Cory Aadland said "with the way everything is kind of going,  as far as some of the more things we hear nationally, it seems it might be a smart thing to move that way  with as much going on as we have."

If the bill passes into law, any elected official, not just legislators would be allowed to carry a concealed weapon

"I have great faith in our elected officials but the reality of it is this law is so wide open when it address elected officials, it doesn't clarify at all for my security staff, and my goal is to keep this courtroom safe, and this courthouse safe with all of the hearings that we have," Sheriff Milstead said.

The bill made it out of the House Local Government committee with eight 'yeas' and five 'nays.'

It now goes to the house floor for a vote.

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