A Republican-sponsored bill that would allow elected officials with concealed weapons permits to carry guns in public buildings passed out of a state legislative committee on Tuesday.
The original bill would have permitted anyone with a concealed weapons permit to carry a gun in public buildings. It was then scaled back to include only elected officials and public employees.
The current version, which passed 8-5 in the state House Local Government Committee, applies only to elected officials. As the AP noted, South Dakota state law currently allows judges and law enforcement personnel to carry guns in public buildings.
"This bill was brought to defend those of us in this room and those county officials in the courtrooms," state Rep. Betty Olson (R), the bill's sponsor, said in defending the legislation.
According to the Argus Leader, Olson contended that Sen. John Thune (R-SD) should be able to carry his own concealed weapon in the state capitol if he so chooses.
The South Dakota legislature passed legislation last year to allow armed volunteers in schools. Dennis Daugaard, the state's Republican governor, signed the so-called "school sentinels" bill into law.