Dakota Arms Is Now Parkwest Arms

One of the questions often asked with the Remington bankruptcy and subsequent auction of its companies was what happened to Dakota Arms. This would also apply to the Remington Custom Shop run by Dakota. Now we have an answer.

The new company is called Parkwest Arms and is still located in Sturgis, South Dakota. Currently, their webpage is primarily a placeholder as is their links to Facebook and Instagram.

From what I understand, the name Dakota Arms went to a large corporation and the rest of the business was purchased by a small investor group. They will be building the same rifles in the same previous facility using the same equipment as before.

Here is a message from “Cole” at Parkwest regarding the new company on the Long Range Hunting Forum:

I would like to introduce our company to the Long Range Hunting community. We are new to this forum, but have been in the firearms business for over thirty years. Many of you may have done business with us in the past as Dakota Arms or the Remington Custom Shop. We are under new ownership, but retain the wealth of knowledge and skill that has allowed us to produce some of the highest quality rifles that money can buy. We look forward to getting to know this forum and all of its members. We are still located in Sturgis, SD and can be reached at 605-702-0060. We will be posting some semi custom rifles that we currently have in inventory, and will soon be taking orders on our custom hunting, tactical, and safari rifles.

For those of us who love firearms made of blued steel and beautiful wood, this is great news. I hope they continue to do as well or better than they did in the past.

Changes In South Dakota’s Concealed Carry Law

SayUncle points to a story today indicating that the South Dakota legislature is rethinking its ban on concealed carry permits for non-citizens. As I pointed out in examining a Kentucky case, Say v. Adams, I didn’t think South Dakota had much of a leg to stand on.

As it is, South Dakota has one of the best concealed carry laws short of constitutional carry. It only requires a clean criminal and mental health record. The law also allows 18-year olds to obtain a permit. There are no training or marksmanship requirements.

HB 1149 which would change the law to include legal residents was introduced yesterday. The text of the bill is below:

State of South Dakota


Introduced by: Representatives Gosch, Blake, Bolin, Brunner, Conzet, Gibson, Hansen (Jon), Hunt, Kirkeby, and Liss and Senators Cutler, Begalka, Brown, Frerichs, Olson (Russell), Peters, and Rave

FOR AN ACT ENTITLED, An Act to allow legal residents of the United States to obtain a concealed pistol permit.
Section 1. That § 23-7-7.1 be amended to read as follows:
23-7-7.1. A temporary permit to carry a concealed pistol shall be issued within five days of application to a person if the applicant:
(1) Is eighteen years of age or older;
(2) Has never pled guilty to, nolo contendere to, or been convicted of a felony or a crime of violence;
(3) Is not habitually in an intoxicated or drugged condition;
(4) Has no history of violence;
(5) Has not been found in the previous ten years to be a “danger to others” or a “danger to self” as defined in § 27A-1-1 or is not currently adjudged mentally incompetent;
(6) Has physically resided in and is a resident of the county where the application is being made for at least thirty days immediately preceding the date of the application;
(7) Has had no violations of chapter 23-7, 22-14, or 22-42 constituting a felony or misdemeanor in the five years preceding the date of application or is not currently charged under indictment or information for such an offense;
(8) Is a citizen or legal resident of the United States; and
(9) Is not a fugitive from justice.
A person denied a permit may appeal to the circuit court pursuant to chapter 1-26.

Rarely would I say that the passage of a bill in any legislature is a slam dunk. However, this bill will be passed.

It is sponsored by both Democrats and Republicans in the South Dakota House and Senate. More importantly, it has as co-sponsors the Speaker Pro Tem of the House and the Majority and Minority Leaders of the Senate. Finally, the Governor of South Dakota has come out in favor of the change. It is good to see a legislature that is so quick to move to correct what is a constitutional defect in a law.

Say v. Adams: An Earlier ACLU Case Challenging CCW Restrictions

A lawsuit brought by the American Civil Liberties Union of South Dakota on behalf of legal immigrant Wayne Smith has generated a lot of interest. The very fact that the ACLU is representing Mr. Smith over the denial of his concealed carry permit is part of it. The other aspect of the case generating some interest is that the NRA is in favor of permanent resident aliens getting CCW permits while it appears that Gun Owners of America has had a mixed response.

The South Dakota suit is very similar to a lawsuit decided in Kentucky back in 2008. The details of that case as well as the legal outcome will help us to understand the current case. In that case, Alexander Say, an attorney and a Permanent Resident, – that is, he held a “green card” – had lived in Kentucky since 1995.

In July 2006, Mr. Say applied to the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Department for a Concealed Deadly Weapon (CCDW) permit. He was told he was not eligible because he was not a U.S. citizen. The Commonwealth of Kentucky that same July had changed their law to now make citizenship a prerequisite for a CCDW. But for that, Mr. Say had met all the other requirements to be granted a CCDW.

Kentucky had changed their requirements for a CCDW so as to gain Federal approval of their CCDW as a substitute for a telephone NICS check. However, a NICS check for a non-citizen requires an Illegal Alien Query (IAQ) conducted through U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement. However, the Kentucky State Police didn’t conduct an IAQ before issuing a CCDW. With a requirement that the CCDW applicant be a citizen, then this was no longer an issue and the CCDW would qualify as a substitute for NICS purposes.

This case, like the South Dakota case, was brought by the ACLU. They challenged the denial of Mr. Say’s CCDW application on the grounds that it was a violation of the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. They sought a preliminary injunction that was granted by U.S. District Court Judge Thomas Russell.

When determining whether a preliminary injunction is appropriate, the court must consider four factors. First, does the plaintiff have a strong chance of success  based upon the merits. Second, would the plaintiff suffer irreparable injury if not granted the injunction. Third, would the preliminary injunction cause substantial harm to others. Finally, the court must consider if the public interest would be served by the injunction.

In determining whether the plaintiff had a strong likelihood of succss, Judge Russell first looked at what standard of scrutiny was appropriate. While alienage is a suspect class, not all aliens are afforded the protection. Based upon both Supreme Court and Sixth Circuit precedent, only aliens who are permanent resident aliens – which Mr. Say was – are entitled to strict scrutiny. Illegal aliens, non-resident aliens, and others such as those on student or tourist visas are not considered part of a suspect class. Since Mr. Say was entitled to strict scrutiny, the Kentucky exclusion of permanent resident aliens must be both narrowly drawn and serve a compelling governmental interest. Judge Russell found:

Defendants have not satisfied their burden to show why this is a substantial state interest.The Court cannot find that a state’s interest in substituting a state background check for a federal background check is compelling enough to justify creating a classification that discriminates against a suspect class.

Furthermore, the citizenship provision is not narrowly tailored to achieve this governmental interest. A blanket prohibition discriminating against aliens is not precisely draw to achieve the goal of facilitating firearms purchases when there exists a nondiscriminatory way to achieve the same goals. As discussed below, if the Kentucky State Police undertakes some administrative burden, it is possible to allow permanent resident aliens to obtain a CCDW license, and still meet the requirements necessary to allow CCDW holders to avoid the NICS inquiry at the time of purchase.

The second leg of the test is irreparable injury if an injunction is not granted. Courts have consistently found that a violation of a constitutional rights constitutes irreparable harm. Judge Russell found that “the violation of the Equal Protection Clause qualifies as an irreparable injury, especially when consider in light of Plaintiff’s likelihood of success.”

The third leg of the test is serious harm to others. The court noted that the Kentucky State Police would have a greater administrative burden if the CCDW was not accepted as a substitute for the NICS check. Furthermore, Kentucky CCDW holders would have to undergo the telephone NICS check. The court found this harm when balanced against the harm of not granting the injunction was “not substantial enough to justify the violation of Plaintiff’s constitutional rights.”

The final leg of the test is whether the injunction was in the public interest. According to Sixth Circuit precedent, it is always in the public interest to prevent violations of constitutional interests. After balancing all of the factors, Judge Russell granted the preliminary injunction to Mr. Say.

The injunction was not the end of this matter. Following the injunction, the Kentucky legislature changed the CCDW law to specify permanent legal residents were eligible for concealed carry permits. When the outcome of Say v. Adams is applied to the South Dakota case, I think there is a strong probability that Wayne Smith will get his concealed carry permit. South Dakota Secretary of State Jason Gant has said in an interview that the legislature may have overlooked the distinction between illegal aliens and permanent legal residents when drafting the 2002 law. He goes on to add that he has heard the legislature will be discussing legislation on this issue when they reconvene this month.

UPDATE: The Yankton (SD) Press and Dakotan has a story about the Smith case today. According to this account, the political leaders of South Dakota don’t seem to be in a hurry to change their CCW law.

Senate Republican Leader Russell Olson, of Wentworth, said his main priority is preserving gun rights for U.S. citizens.

“I’ll fight for the rights of the citizens of South Dakota,” Olson said Friday. “My concern is for the citizens of our state and our nation.”

“Foreign nationals don’t fall under my umbrella,” he added in a separate interview.

House Republican Leader David Lust, of Rapid City, said he hasn’t studied the issue enough to take a position.

The House Minority Leader Bernie Hunhoff, a Yankton Democrat, said he was OK with changing the law to include permanent legal residents but that it would take support from the Republicans to make the change.

South Dakota Governor Dennis Daugaard, a Republican, said he would need to see the language of the any changes before he decided one way or another.

My guess is that Wayne Smith and the ACLU will win in court and the law will be changed whether these political leaders want to do it or not. Given court precedent in the Say case plus Supreme Court precedent making discrimination based on the origins of permanent legal residents subject to strict scrutiny, a proactive approach to making these changes would be the smart thing to do. The fact that the change in the CCW law was a reaction to the terrorist attacks of 9-11 would seem to me to be a weaker rationale than that of Kentucky’s where they wanted to reduce administrative burdens.

From a political standpoint, the Republican leaders need to wake up or they will find themselves scooped on a gun rights issue by the Democrats. They need to remember that many gun owners vote gun rights first and party label second.