Shantel Krebs, South Dakota secretary of state, said on Friday that 30,029 permits to carry a concealed handgun have been issued in 2016 to adult state residents, a record annual figure for the state in its 11th year of issuing the permits.
According to one pro-gun group, South Dakota has more concealed-carry permits per capita than any state except Indiana, which is ahead by a whisker.
Stanley and Hughes counties, in Fort Pierre and Pierre, each have a higher percentage of adults with the permits than the statewide average.
“South Dakota has set an all-time high for new and renewed concealed carry weapon permits issued for the year at 30,029,” stated Secretary Krebs. The previous high for permits issued in one year was 2013 with 26,863.
She said national politics appear to affect South Dakotans when it comes to exercising their constitutional rights to bear arms, open or concealed.
“As South Dakotans, we value our Second Amendment rights and can see a direct influence in the number of concealed carry permits issued based on national events or when candidates and elected officials at the national level talk about limiting the Second Amendment,” Krebs said in a news release Friday. “ Prior to November 2015 we were averaging approximately 1,500 permits a month until the shooting in San Bernardino, California. In the next three months we issued over 10,000 permits. Once restricting gun rights became a topic in the Presidential campaign the level of permit applications did not recede for the year.”
This is the 11th year the permits allowing the holder to carry a concealed pistol, or handgun, have been available in the state; 2006 was the first year. This year also was the first year the new, enhanced concealed-carry permits were available, effectively, with 1,460 issued, costing more and requiring more training, but also offering more “reciprocity” in more states - 36 in total where the permits are valid.
In 2015, 37 of the enhanced permits were issued and 1,460 this year. They cost $100 and are valid for 5 years. Regular concealed-carry permits cost $10 and also are good for 5 years, according to Krebs’ office.
South Dakota also is an “open-carry” state, meaning it’s legal to carry a gun in public in a belt or on the shoulder, except for certain buildings and locations, without needing a permit.
January 2016 saw the highest monthly number, with 3,879 permits issued. The secretary of state’s office says there are 96,047 residents with active permits, one in six adults, or 14.9 percent of the adult population of 644,147 who are 18 or older, based on U.S. Census figures from 2010.
The state’s two most populous counties have the most active permits: Minnehaha at Sioux Falls, with 14,719 and Pennington at Rapid City, with 14,387.
Krebs’ office issues a permit after it gets approved by an applicant’s county sheriff and criminal background checks, including age of 18, criminal record and mental competency requirements and other factors.
Hughes County at Pierre has 2,087 active permits, which is 16.5 percent of the county’s 12,675 residents 18 and older.
Stanley County at Fort Pierre has 480 active permits, which is 22.3 percent of the 2,154 residents 18 and older, according to figures from Krebs’ office and census figures.
The figures include regular permits and the new “enhanced” permits which allow reciprocity carry in more states, 36, including Minnesota and Nebraska, for South Dakota permit holders, Jason Williams of Krebs’ office told the Capital Journal. The regular South Dakota permit allows for reciprocity carry in Iowa, Kansas, Wyoming, Montana and North Dakota, Williams said.
Nationally, the concealed-carry permit figures have gone ballistic, so to speak, according to the Crime Prevention Research Center, which supports gun ownership.
According to the Center’s website:
During President Barack Obama’s administration, the number of concealed handgun permits has more than tripled, to more than 14.5 million – a 215% increase since 2007. And South Dakota is the second-leading state behind Indiana in the popularity of the permits.
From a 2016 CPRC report:
■ The increase in the number of concealed handgun permits last year set another record, increasing by 1.73 million. That is slightly greater than previous record of 1.69 million set the last year.
■ 6.06% of the total adult population has a permit.
■ In ten states, more than 10% of adults have concealed handgun permits. Indiana has the highest rate — 15%. South Dakota is close behind with 14.7%.
(More recent Census figures and permit numbers at the end of 2016 show it’s 14.9 percent now in South Dakota.)
■ Florida, Pennsylvania, and Texas each have over a million residents who are active permit holders.
■ In another 11 states, a permit is no longer required to carry in all or virtually all of the state. Thus the growth in permits does not provide a full picture of the overall increase in concealed carry.
■ Between 2012 and 2016, in states that provide data by gender, the number of women with permits has increased twice as quickly as the number of men with permits.