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Bill banning state cooperation with federal gun enforcement moves forward


The House Judiciary has passed along a bill that disallows state cooperation with federal enforcement of gun laws stricter than those on South Dakota’s books.

The committee heard from gun advocates who say the federal government shouldn’t dictate Second Amendment rights to the states.

Opponents include law enforcement agencies and domestic violence networks who might lose federal cooperation and grant dollars if this bill becomes law.

One proponent of House Bill 1052C was Aaron Dorr, director of state operations for the American Firearms Association, testifying from the field office in New York State .

He said the bill is modeled after Missouri ’s Second Amendment Preservation Act, or SAPA.

Dorr told legislators, “SAPA legislation asserts state sovereignty, the 10th Amendment, and the anti-commandeering doctrine and tells Joe Biden we will not allow state resources, state police officers, state taxpayer dollars [and] equipment, to be used to enforce his gun control agenda.”

In the South Dakota bill, officers can face $50,000 in civil penalties if they violate the law. But Dorr said that money is collected from law enforcement agencies, not the officers themselves.

Dorr objected to wording in the South Dakota bill that hands the $50,000 to the state. He said gun owners should get the money.

One of the opponents is the South Dakota Sheriff’s Association, represented at the hearing by lobbyist Dick Tieszen. He pointed out that the $50,000 civil penalty would be paid by taxpayers.

Another opponent is Krista Heeren-Graber, executive director of the South Dakota Network Against Family Violence. She said domestic violence programs rely heavily on federal grants, and the application process requires cooperation with federal law.

“We actually need to sign off on a certification that certain things are covered in our state law,” she said, “and one would be to ensure that we’re following the federal guidelines set out, for example, in the Violence Against Women Act.”

The bill specifies that gun protections exist for law-abiding citizens, not people convicted of crimes.

But Heeren-Graber said federal law requires that guns are removed from respondents in protection orders for domestic violence and stalking, which are civil orders.

“They could still be considered a law-abiding citizen, because that is not technically a crime,” Heeren-Graber told the committee.

The House Judiciary Committee voted to pass the bill along to the full House for floor debate.

Rapid City freelancer Victoria L. Wicks has been producing news for SDPB since August 2007. She Retired from this position in March 2023.