(CNN)It's now legal to carry a concealed handgun without a permit in South Dakota.
In signing the legislation Thursday, Gov. Kristi Noem made her state the latest to allow the practice. It's the first bill she's signed into law since she took office last month.
The legislation, which will go into effect on July 1, is designed to "protect the Second Amendment rights of South Dakotans by allowing constitutional carry," she said.
"More than 230 years ago, the Founding Fathers of our country penned the Constitution that has since laid the framework for centuries of policies," the Republican governor said.
"They so firmly believed in the importance of the freedom to bear arms that they enshrined it into the Constitution's Second Amendment."
Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Idaho, Kansas, Maine, Mississippi, Missouri, New Hampshire, North Dakota, Vermont, West Virginia and Wyoming also do not require a permit to carry a concealed weapon, the National Rifle Association and the National Conference of State Legislatures said.
The Argus Leader, a daily newspaper based in Sioux Falls, quotes the governor as saying a "robust and thoughtful process" of debate resulted in the passage of the measure.
She says the law still maintains "restrictions... on who can carry a concealed handgun" and residents can decide for themselves whether to get a permit, according to the newspaper.
"A common sense measure"
The National Rifle Association applauded the new law as a reasonable move that enhances legislation already on the books.
The state already recognizes the right to carry a firearm openly without a permit, the NRA said.
"Current law, however, requires a state-issued permit to carry that same firearm under a coat or in a bag. This new law simply extends the current open carry rule to concealed carry. Those who obtain permits will still enjoy the reciprocity agreements that South Dakota has with other states."
Chris W. Cox, executive director of the group's Institute for Legislative Action, thanked Noem "for her leadership on this critical issue."
"This law is a common sense measure that allows law-abiding South Dakotans to exercise their fundamental right to self-protection in the manner that best suits their needs."
The permit idea remains popular, polling shows
Everytown for Gun Safety, a group fighting gun violence and promoting gun safety, released polling underscoring the popularity of a permit requirement.
It said 84% of South Dakota voters, including 85% of South Dakota gun owners, back a permit to carry a concealed handgun in public.
The polling shows the permit requirement has wide majorities of support from both Republicans and Democrats.
"Not a single state passed permitless carry legislation last year to allow people to carry hidden, loaded handguns in public without a permit," said Everytown press secretary Adam Sege. "By contrast, 21 states rejected permitless carry bills."
Shannon Hoime is the South Dakota chapter leader of Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America, a volunteer group working under Everytown. She said the legislation is unpopular despite its passage.
"In general, the public is embarrassed and disgusted that South Dakota is going backwards," she said.
"We can honor the Second Amendment and make smarter decisions."
Hoime said the group will continue to promote responsible gun ownership and help educate the public.
"We'll just do our work on the ground to keep people informed and keep people safe," she said.
CORRECTION: An earlier version of this story incorrectly reported the number of states that rejected permitless carry bills. It is 21.