Friday, January 7, 2011

ACLU, Guns, and South Dakota

So, earlier this week, the ACLU has filed suit against the state of South Dakota regarding the requirement that one be a US citizen to get a concealed carry permit here.

I've had a couple of days to think about it, and I'm not really sure.

One the one hand, we have a guy who has lived in Sioux Falls for 30 yrs and has not gained his US citizenship. He is however, a permanent resident alien. Nobody is telling this guy he can't own a gun. They're just saying he can't carry it concealed.

On the other, we have a states rights argument. The state of South Dakota should have the right to dictate who can or cannot get a permit to carry. Since Congress failed to pass national reciprocity in the last session, it is still up to the states to dictate who gets what.

Where this thing gets sideways is this. With the Heller and McDonald decisions in 2008 and 2010, the courts have said that states cannot ban firearms. In regards to states like Illinois and California, these decisions were a welcome change to decades of precedent regarding guns. The unintended consequence is that states that are friendly to guns like South Dakota can be knee-capped when they try to pass truly sensible gun laws (unlike the 'reasonable' ones the Brady Bunch and the VPC espouse). But with these decisions, they have effectively cut the states out of the picture in regards to firearm law. This law will be hard-pressed to remain in light of those two decisions.

First thing that really pops out at me is that he was not able to obtain a renewal on his permit until just recently? Permits last 4 yrs. If the law was enacted in 2002, even if he got his permit right before the change, he has renewed it at least once, if not twice since then. Why is it that now all of a sudden this is an issue?

Then, there's the fact that the ACLU is involved in this. It wasn't too long ago that the ACLU was against individual rights for firearms. Hell, the national leadership is still hostile to gun rights. One has to wonder if the national board is out of touch with its member state chapters. More and more we are hearing about folks at the state level making court arguments about individual firearms rights. First it was Nevada, now South Dakota.

So where do I come down on this? I'm still undecided.

No comments: