South Dakota governor ‘reassures’ NRA that her granddaughter, 2, ‘already’ has multiple guns

The South Dakota governor and potential 2024 candidate addressed the conference days after a gunman killed six people in Kentucky with an AR rifle

Alex Woodward
New York
Sunday 16 April 2023 08:48 BST
Kristi Noem tells NRA her 2-year-old granddaughter already has two guns

South Dakota governor and potential 2024 presidential candidate Kristi Noem told the crowd at a National Rifle Association event that her nearly two-year-old granddaughter “already” has a shotgun and a rifle.

“I want to reassure you,” she said from the stage at the NRA-ILA Leadership Forum in Indiana on 14 April.

Ms Noem was among a crowd of 2024 hopefuls and declared candidates addressing the influential firearm lobbying group’s conference just days after a gunman killed six people inside a Louisville, Kentucky, bank with an AR-style rifle.

Speakers at the event largely spent their remarks pushing against Democratic demands for urgent gun reform measures, including reviving a federal ban on the kinds of assault weapons used during the attack in Louisville and the mass shooting inside a Nashville school that killed three nine-year-old children and three adult employees.

There have been more than 155 mass shootings and more than 12,000 gun-related deaths in 2023, according to the Gun Violence Archive.

Ms Noem also signed an executive order in the middle of her remarks, inviting NRA president Wayne LaPierre to join her as she barred state agencies from working with banks that “discriminate” against firearm-related businesses

The order “will protect the God-given right to keep and bear arms from being infringed upon by financial institutions,” she said.


During her 25-minute speech, she criticised efforts from Democratic lawmakers and President Joe Biden’s administration to combat the proliferation of high-powered firearms during the nation’s gun violence epidemic.

“Why do the liberals and Joe Biden want our guns?” she said. “Because it will make it easier for them to infringe on all our other rights.”

She added: “What if prosecutors actually did their jobs instead of going on the political attack? What if the laws we had today were actually enforced? What if, when tragedy happens, families gathered together, they bowed their heads and they prayed for wisdom and discernment on how to heal hearts and minds rather than to debate the methods used by those in society who do harm?”

Last year, days after a gunman killed 19 children inside an elementary school in Uvalde, Texas, Ms Noem attended the NRA’s Texas event and accused Democratic officials of exploiting the tragedy to pass restrictions on guns.

In response to the Uvalde massacre, members of Congress passed bipartisan legislation signed into law by Presiden Biden to support expanded background checks and the creation of so-called “red flag” laws. The president has repeatedly called on lawmakers to reinstate an assault weapons ban that expired in 2004.

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