An Ordeal for Richard Bleil
A couple of weeks ago, I found myself in South Dakota (barely). I had moved into my house, but I still don’t know much about the neighborhood. I thought it might not be a bad idea to have a firearm for home defense, plus it’s great fun to shoot at targets. So, I stopped by a sport store to see what they had. And to be fair, I would love to get another S&W 500 just in case a bear attacks the local elementary school.
Choices were slim, but I found a Glock, a name I trust, in a .45 semi-automatic. Handguns are so difficult to find that I went ahead and bought it. Since I was not a resident of South Dakota, however, I was told it would have to be shipped to a local store for me to pick up, a policy with which I agree to ensure that the local gun laws are followed. It took about four days before it arrived.
So, to the store I merrily went, only to discover that before I can pick it up, I have to register the handgun. I do agree that handguns should be registered, but I understand the concern of gun rights groups who worry about this.
As it turns out, though, here the law says before you can register your gun, you have to have a gun permit. Again, I agree. People need licenses to drive cars, and guns are more dangerous than cars so, sure, gun permits. This basically removes the burden of background checks from the stores, so that’s fine. I get it. I’m a little bit surprised that there is not a gun safety training requirement, but apparently that is only required if you were looking to get a concealed carry license which is separate from a gun license. I’m not sure what the requirements are beyond the safety course for concealed carry permit but I’m guessing that I would need a gun permit before I can get a concealed carry. nonetheless I’m really not interested in a concealed carry permit. I used to have one but I find that it’s just not my style to carry a gun so there’s not much point to it for me.
Here’s where it gets a little bit convoluted. You see you have to register your handgun with the police but gun permits are issued by the Sheriff’s Department. You cannot register your handgun with the police until you have a gun permit from the Sheriff’s Department. If this sounds convoluted to you , I would completely agree but it gets worse than that.
Notice that I agree with each of these requirements individual but I find it combined the process for me to pick up what is already my property is excessive and bordering on violating my constitutional rights. I’m trying very hard to be a good citizen register my gun, to follow the laws, would even go so far as to take a gun safety course although I have had gun safety training from the Police Department that hired me some years ago.
So, here’s where the story begins. The store itself informed me of his laws and would not allow me to pick up my handgun when I went in. To their credit, they handed me a sheet of instruction with all of these steps clearly spelled out including addresses in a list format . The first step was the Sheriff’s Office for a gun license. Having already waited for several days pick up my gun now I find my way to the Sheriff’s Office. Now it’s not their fault, but because of COVID-19 they are no longer issuing gun licenses at the Sheriff’s Office. It all must be done by Mail. Notice that I did not say online. It must be done using the old-fashioned mail system which will add several days just in delivery time to this entire process.
At the Sheriff’s Office they sent me home with an envelope with the forms I need to fill out and explicit instructions on how to apply for a gun license. Among these requirements is one that says I must include a copy of my driver’s license, but this driver’s license must have my current address. Having moved only a month ago, my driver’s license has my previous street address which means of course that I am required to get a new driver’s license.
I went online and found the form necessary to request a new driver’s license online and filled it out. When I submitted it however the system told me that there was a problem and I had to request a new driver’s license in person at one of the DMV offices. As it turns out I would discover that apparently somebody else has a name and birth date similar enough to mine that I had to do it in person. So that today was kind of a bother, but here’s the kicker. In this state they do not give you your driver’s license at the DMV. What they give you is a temporary paper license, and they Mail you your driver’s license a few weeks later. So, this added about three to four weeks before I can even get my driver’s license to get a copy of it to apply for the gun license. The sad thing here is that the DMV does not speak with the office that handles license plates which means that I was required to bring 2 pieces of Mail that has my new address on it. This is bureaucratic inefficiency. It’s not that the state does not know where I live, but rather, it’s the driver’s license system refusing to communicate with the car license system.
Today, I’m looking at probably three to four weeks to get my driver’s license, probably another three to four weeks for the gun license, and I’m sure it’ll take several weeks to register the gun as well. This bureaucratic red tape is maddening. I’ve been told that in most places, there is an adversarial relationship between the local police and the sheriff’s departments, and I’m sure this is part of the problem. Yes, I am griping, but not about requiring a gun license or registering my handgun, but rather the inefficiency of a system that requires me to prove my address to a state that already has such proof, and where I must visit both the Sheriff’s office and police separately because they won’t cooperate with each other.
What a beautiful country this would be if our bureaucrats actually got along with each other.