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South Dakota: Legislation to Remove an Outdated Gun Control Provision Passes House Judiciary Committee

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Please contact your state Representative

House Bill 1079, sponsored by state Representative Brian Gosch (R-32), passed in the House Judiciary Committee yesterday, February 16 by a unanimous 13 to 0 vote.  This legislation will now be considered on the House floor.

The intent of HB 1079 is to clean up South Dakota’s firearm code and to remove a provision that became obsolete with the passage of the federal Firearms Owners' Protection Act (FOPA) in 1986.  Originally, the federal Gun Control Act banned interstate sales of firearms but contained an exception for long gun transactions occurring between federally licensed dealers (FFLs) and residents of contiguous states.  Such sales could occur, moreover, only if “the purchaser’s State of residence permit[ted] such sale or delivery by law.” Thus, states around the country passed provisions specifically allowing their residents to buy long guns from FFLs in contiguous states. 

FOPA, however, removed both the contiguous states limitation and the requirement that the purchaser’s state of residence specifically authorize the purchase of long guns.  Now, interstate sales of rifles and shotguns can occur between FFLs and residents of any state, as long as “the sale, delivery, and receipt fully comply with the legal conditions of sale in both such States.”  Thus, the relevant question isn’t whether a state specifically permits interstate long gun sales, but whether the state has enacted any laws that would prevent them.  The NRA supports repealing this old contiguous state provision because it is unnecessary, the “contiguous state” language can be misleading, and because such provisions create the false impression that the right to acquire arms is merely a privilege granted by the state, not a right that some states have taken away from their citizens.

South Dakota has enacted no barriers to interstate sales, so HB 1079 would not change the current law, under which South Dakota FFLs can sell long guns to residents of other states that do not limit their residents' right to purchase, and South Dakota residents can buy long guns from FFLs in other states that do not discriminate against non-residents.

Please contact your state Representative and respectfully urge him or her to support HB 1079.  Representatives can be reached by calling the House switchboard and leaving a message at (605) 773-3851 or by clicking here.  If you need help identifying your state Representative, click here.

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