PIERRE - The South Dakota Senate has approved a plan to make concealed weapons permits valid for five years, up from the current four years.

Senators voted unanimously Wednesday to send the bill to the House for further debate.

The measure's main sponsor, Sen. Larry Rhoden of Union Center, says he had hoped to use the bill to make other changes in state laws dealing with firearms. But he says additional study is needed before those changes can be made.

Rhoden says one future change would provide that once people get South Dakota concealed weapons permits, they would not have to undergo separate background checks every time they bought a gun. He says that would require issuing concealed weapons permits based on the same federal database used to approve gun sales.

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