South Dakota lawmakers advance bill banning campus gun-free zones

South Dakota lawmakers advance bill banning campus gun-free zones

Gun Rights

Gun sales in the past have surged across the country in the weeks after past mass shootings (Photo: Alan Diaz / AP) PIERRE — A bill prohibiting South Dakota public universities and colleges from banning guns on their campuses received a Senate committee’s approval over the objections from university administrators and students on Tuesday. The Senate Judiciary Committee advanced in a 4-3 motion Senate Bill 122, which will prohibit the Board of Regents and the Board of Technical Education from adopting a policy that would restrict or limit a person’s ability to carry a firearm on campus. The committee also attempted to send the bill to the 41st legislative day, which would have killed the bill, but the motion failed. The South Dakota Gun Owners Association was the sole supporter during Tuesday’s meeting. Jordan Mason, the association’s political director, said the bill is "finally giving our students a chance to defend themselves." The South Dakota Constitution guarantees citizens’ right to bear arms, said Sen. Stace Nelson, R-Fulton, one of the bill’s sponsors. "Gun-free zones do not work," Nelson said during the committee’s discussion. The bill raises concerns about student safety in classrooms and dorms, where drinking and mental health issues occur, and about potential complications in Title IX sexual assault, stalking and harassment cases on campuses, university officials testified. It would also eliminate the University of South Dakota’s ability to host NCAA championships because the NCAA requires host institutions to have a gun-free campus, USD President Sheila Gestring said. […]

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