PIERRE, S.D. July 13 2019 The Pierre City Commission is looking to amend a city ordinance to allow merchant security officers the ability to carry a firearm.
Police Chief Jason Jones says the change is being brought to the Commission after the permit-less concealed carry firearms law took effect July 1.
“So we would just be looking to enact language that says as long as the company is licensed, pays their merchant fee for the city, we know who they are, we would allow the possession of a firearm for their protection when everybody else can carry legally,” Jones said. “Just updates to the language of where we were in accordance with the laws that are being enacted as of July 1st.”
Jones says a Pierre-based merchant security company contacted the Pierre Police Department with concerns about the firearms restrictions for private security officers.
“At the time, the concern from local security companies was that our ordinance at the time was written where no firearms were allowed for the merchants that are providing that security,” Jones said. That being said, that was written at a time different from where we are today. There was some other outdated language in there where it required the Chief of Police to issue a security badge of some nature to every employee operating for that company.”
Jones says the proposed changes to the ordinance would be similar to changes made to the city’s taxi ordinance to allow ride-sharing services like Lyft and Uber to operate in the city.
“And what we’re looking to do is have the licensing merchant security come to the city on an annual basis, provide the the licensing fee to the city of $150 which is updated from the one time $120 fee and then, thereby, annually renew that so that we know at the city, who’s operating a merchant security operation in our city.” Jones said. “We know that we can do checks to see that there are properly licensed.”
Jones says Capital Security is in agreement with the proposed changes.
“They were very respectful of the fact that we reviewed it,” Jones said. “They were excited about the changes of the firearm restrictions being lifted for them and their protection in their role as merchant security and they were not overly concerned with the price of the fee. They said that was not so bad.”
Second reading of the ordinance revision will be considered at the Pierre City Commission meeting next week.