Red-Flag Gun Bill Defeated

Feb 4, 2020

State Sen. Arthur Rusch, R-Vermillion

An attempt to create what’s commonly called a “red flag” gun law failed Tuesday in the South Dakota Legislature.  

State Sen. Arthur Rusch, a Republican and former judge from Vermillion, sought to create risk protection orders. His bill would have allowed law enforcement officers to seek the orders from judges, to seize guns from people flagged as a risk of injury or death to themselves or others.  

Rusch said South Dakota and the nation have a problem with gun violence.  

“I brought this bill to get a discussion going about that issue,” Rusch said. “What can we do to address that issue? It does not resolve the problem to close our eyes and pretend that it’s not a problem.” 

Several people testified against the bill, including a National Rifle Association lobbyist. Also testifying against the bill was Republican Lt. Gov. Larry Rhoden.  

“On behalf of the governor, I’m asking you to defeat Senate Bill 82,” Rhoden said. “Plain and simple, red-flag laws do not work, and they are unconstitutional.” 

The Senate Judiciary Committee rejected the bill by a vote of 5-2. The two votes in support of the bill came from Rusch and Sen. Craig Kennedy, D-Yankton.