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SDPB Radio Coverage of the South Dakota Legislature. See all coverage and find links to audio and video streams live from the Capitol at www.sdpb.org/statehouse

Second Amendment Lawsuit: What's The Cost?

By Victoria Wicks
A bill designed to be an affirmation of South Dakota’s second-amendment rights is on hold until the cost of the lawsuits to defend it can be determined. On the floor of the Senate Wednesday, a West River legislator says the law responds to hasty gun legislation after recent mass shootings.
Larry Rhoden tells fellow Senators that his bill, if passed, becomes a South Dakota statute and carries with it the force of law: “Unlike a concurrent resolution, which merely begs the federal government to take some notice, however slight, of our opinion, Senate Bill 207 clearly states to Congress, the administration, and the federal regulatory agencies, ‘This is how it is in South Dakota. Accept us for who we are and what we hold dear, or prepare to deal with us, because we intend to defend our law.”
The bill holds that there is no legal theory to support federal attempts to restrict gun ownership, and it directs the Attorney General to sue to protect the rights of South Dakota and its citizens.
The bill has 62 cosponsors. Senator Larry Lucas is not one of them.
“The Second Amendment right is an individual right. I don’t believe it’s a right given to South Dakota or any state,” Lucas says. “Anyone who believes that their right to own a firearm in any way is being denied to them has a right to petition the court to address that issue.”
Lucas says people who believe current laws illegally ban certain guns, such as sawed-off shotguns or fully automatic weapons, have the right to sue, as do convicted felons or mentally ill people.
Lucas asked that a fiscal note be attached to discover the cost of a lawsuit against the federal government before the Senate continues to consider the bill.