The Everytown chapters of Moms Demand Action, Students Demand Action released the following statement applauding the rejection of three dangerous gun bills in the South Dakota legislature. Today, House Bill 1131, a bill that would prohibit the implementation of a future Extreme risk law was rejected by South Dakota lawmakers. Extreme risk laws are a critical tool in mitigating gun violence, empowering loved ones and law enforcement to petition for temporary firearm removal from those deemed at risk to themselves or others. Last week, South Dakota lawmakers also rejected House Bill 1173, legislation that would make it illegal for any public officer or employee of the state, including state and local law enforcement officers, to assist with the enforcement of federal gun safety laws and penalize those who attempt to enforce them. Two weeks ago, a bill to penalize businesses who wish to divest from the firearm industry, House Bill 1208 was rejected in committee on a vote of 12-1.
Moms Demand Action volunteers advocated tirelessly against these bills, including testifying during hearings and contacting legislators. Law enforcement officials, including from South Dakota Sheriffs Association, South Dakota Department of Public Safety, South Dakota Highway Patrol, South Dakota Police Chiefs Associate, South Dakota Attorneys Association, South Dakota Attorney General’s Office, and individual law enforcement officers also expressed concern.
“We fought against these dangerous bills like our lives were on the line, because they are,” said Julie Parker, a volunteer with South Dakota Moms Demand Action. “We made it abundantly clear that we will not let our streets be flooded with guns for political interest. While we’re proud of the results today defeating these bad bills, we’re far from finished.”
Earlier this week, lawmakers in South Dakota held a historic hearing for two critical gun safety measures: Extreme Risk Protection Orders (HB 1227) and Secure Firearm Storage (HB 1213). South Dakota has some of the weakest gun laws in the country. Despite having no foundational gun laws, lawmakers have recently passed reckless gun laws that further endanger South Dakotans, including expanding the state’s Shoot First law and repealing its permitting requirement for carrying hidden, loaded guns in public. The Mount Rushmore State has a notably high proportion of suicide—with 79% of gun deaths occurring by suicide, compared with 57% nationally—and yet has none of the most critical protections in place, such as secure storage or an Extreme Risk law.