House Democratic leader Bernie Hunhoff of Yankton today filed HB 1188 which calls for determining whether mentally ill people are dangerous and then prohibiting their access to firearms if they are. The legislation has strong bipartisan support including from some of the Legislature’s strongest gun-rights advocates such as Sen. Tim Begalka, R-Clear Lake. The bill would require the director of the state Human Services Center to determine, before a patient is discharged from state custody, whether the person is dangerous and submit a report to the Yankton County state’s attorney. The state’s attorney in turn would draft a petition for circuit court and seek a closed-door hearing before the Yankton County board of mental illness solely about the dangerousness of the person. The person would have legal counsel and would have the right to testify and call witnesses and examine witnesses and offer records and examine records. The board’s findings, if the person is determined to be dangerous, would be submitted to the state Attorney General’s office. The attorney general would forward the determination of dangerousness to the FBI to be entered into the national instant criminal background check system. All persons who legally sell firearms would have access to the information. The dangerous person would be prohibited from purchasing a firearm, and people would be prohibited from selling firearms to a dangerous person. The dangerous person could appeal the board’s finding to circuit court. The dangerous person could later apply to circuit court for reinstatement of rights to purchase a firearm after five years but would need to show he or she hadn’t committed a crime, other than a motor vehicle violation, and hadn’t been involuntarily committed to a mental health facility during those five years. South Dakota is one of a handful of states without these provisions, according to summaries compiled by the National Conference of State Legislatures. The measure also would make it a crime for another person to loan or give a gun to the dangerous person. The lead Senate sponsor of the Hunhoff bill is Republican Craig Tieszen, a retired Rapid City police chief.