PIERRE, S.D. — The Senate Judiciary Committee unanimously voted Tuesday, Feb. 11, to approve a bill that would allow juveniles to possess a pistol under the same conditions as set forth in federal law.

It's a class one misdemeanor for anyone younger than 18 to knowingly possess a pistol in South Dakota, under current state law, which does not change under the proposed law.

In certain cases under Senate Bill 120, a minor would be exempt from criminal prosecution for possessing a pistol if the minor had prior written consent from their parent or guardian if they were on land owned or leased by the parent, guardian of immediate family member. They would also be exempt if they were in the presence of a licensed or accredited gun safety instructor or they were using the pistol for farming, ranching, hunting, trapping, target shooting or gun safety instruction.

Sen. Jim Stalzer, R-Sioux Falls, is the prime sponsor of the bill.

Current state law requires a juvenile to have the parent present while engaged in the list of exempt activities, such as farming or hunting, while federal law requires written consent from a parent or guardian to possess the pistol during those activities, Stalzer said.

"It's not like they'd be able to possess a pistol at the mall," Stalzer said.

The bill will now make it's way to the Senate floor for debate.