Sitting in a fishbowl: that is how Representative Lee Qualm described what he perceives as the vulnerability of lawmakers as they work at the capital building in Pierre. His concerns are what prompted sponsoring a bill that would allow those with an enhanced concealed carry permit to be armed within the walls of the South Dakota capitol. The bill passed out of the House State Affairs committee on a 10 to 3 vote.

House Majority leader Representative Lee Qualm of Platte is the prime sponsor of the bill. He says that there is limited security in the capitol and they anyone with an enhanced carry permit has to undergo extensive training.

With the enhanced permit, you have to do five hours of training, and then you actually have to shoot 99 times...so the instructor can actually see how you can handle the weapon to see if you're good at it.  If you know what you're doing and then he can give you pointers if needed.

The South Dakota Highway Patrol, which provides security for the capitol, opposed the bill. Highway Patrol Major Rick Miller is a security officer at the capitol and says every day he mentally prepares that he might have to take a life.

Committee Chairman Larry Rhoden voted for the bill passage in committee after he pushed the panic button and it took five minutes for marked security to arrive in the room.

And we've all heard that old adage that seconds count  the police are only minutes away, I thought that may be different in our situation.

Twenty-one state capitols allow concealed carry, including Minnesota. The bill now moves to the full house floor for debate.


See Also: