Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Cold Dead Hands

As our legislature debates whether to allow our college students to bring guns on to colleges, the Brady campaign report card shows just how bad our gun laws already are in South Dakota as far as letting the bad guys get a hold of guns.

Out of a possible 100 points with 100 being the best, South Dakota scored a 6 with the lowlights below thanks to the RCJ.

* States can earn up to 35 points by taking all measures needed to “Curb Firearm Trafficking.” States can fully regulate the gun dealers within their borders, limit bulk purchases of handguns, provide police certain technology to identify crime guns, and require lost or stolen guns to be reported to the police. South Dakota scored zero points in this category.


* States can earn up to 25 points by “Strengthening Brady Background Checks.” This involves requiring background checks on all gun sales and requiring a permit in order to purchase firearms. Short of universal background checks, states can also close the gun show loophole, at least requiring background checks for all gun show sales. South Dakota scored zero points in this category.

* States can earn up to 20 points by “Protecting Child Safety” when it comes to guns. States can require that only childproof handguns be sold within their borders, require child safety locks to be sold with each handgun, hold adults accountable for keeping guns away from kids and teens, and require handgun purchasers to be at least 21 years of age. South Dakota scored zero points in this category.

* States can earn up to 10 points by “Banning Military-style Assault Weapons,” as well as banning high-capacity ammunition magazines. South Dakota scored zero points in this category.

* States can earn up to 10 points by making it harder to carry “Guns In Public Places” (except for trained law enforcement and security) and by allowing localities to “Preserve Local Control” over municipal gun laws. This includes keeping guns out of workplaces and college campuses, not forcing law enforcement to issue concealed handgun permits on demand, not permitting “shoot first” expansions in self-defense laws, and not preventing municipalities from passing their own gun laws. South Dakota scored only six points in this category.


Maybe instead of passing laws that look to increase the prevalence of guns in our state we should instead concentrate on keeping them out of the hands of people that shouldn't have them. But then again we are only 37th in the nation on this so we have a long way to go before we hit our comfort zone of last.

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