The Constitution doesn’t always use plain language, but when it comes to our right to defend ourselves, the Second Amendment is quite straightforward: “The right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.”

It’s often been said that the Second Amendment exists to defend all the rest, including the First. I couldn’t agree more. That’s why the very first bill that I signed as governor was Constitutional Carry, which guarantees the right of every law-abiding South Dakotan to keep and bear arms.

I love hunting with my family. My grandma Dorris taught me how to bird hunt, and to this day my favorite way to decompress is to hunt big game with my brothers. The Second Amendment guarantees our ability to hunt, but it’s so much more important than that. Government exists to protect our rights, but that doesn’t preclude us from protecting ourselves and our loved-ones. In fact, our Founders intended the Second Amendment to include protection from a tyrannical government. That’s why they took up arms against Great Britain in the first place.

Unfortunately, many politicians seem determined to directly infringe on our right to bear arms, despite the Second Amendment’s clear wording that it “shall not be infringed.”

President Biden recently announced several executive actions regarding gun control. He claimed that these actions wouldn’t infringe on the Second Amendment. But that’s false.

President Biden’s actions include a Red Flag order. Such laws can be used to take away guns from a law-abiding citizen. They deprive individuals of both their liberty and property rights. And they aren’t just an infringement on the Second Amendment; they’re also a violation of both our Fourth Amendment right against unreasonable search and seizure and our Fifth Amendment right to due process.

President Biden is also proposing new limits on firearm sales and ammunition purchases. But these, too, are infringements on the Second Amendment. What good is the right to keep and bear arms if you can’t first purchase them? What good is the right to keep and bear arms if you can’t buy ammo to load them? Why would we want to limit ammo purchases when we’re in the midst of a nationwide ammo shortage specifically because of the threat of gun control?

To top it off, President Biden indicated that his executive orders don’t go far enough, and he called on Congress to further infringe on the Second Amendment. In response to such threats to our rights, I promise that South Dakota will do everything in our power to defend your right to defend yourself and your loved-ones.

“Shall not be infringed” could not be any plainer. If only President Biden could be forthcoming and realize that his actions are a direct infringement on our right to keep and bear arms.

(3) comments


Actually, Madam Governor, you are not being 'straightforward' in your argument. The text of the Second Amendment reads in full: “A well-regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.” I did not see a well regulated militia on January 6th, though many insurrectionists were armed. I did not see a well regulated militia in Michigan that wanted to kidnap and assassinate your colleague Gov. Whitmer. I do not see well regulated militias who are white nationalists. I do not see well regulated militias when men with assault style weapons wear the guns on slings to order coffee or fill their gas tanks. Please explain how what the President has proffered prevents law-abiding citizens from hunting, target shooting, or any other legal action? And please tell me why a nation of 330 million people needs over 400 million guns to staff a 'well regulated militia?'

Mr. T

When it comes to our right to defend ourselves, the Second Amendment IS straightforward. But before the words “... the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed,” the preceding phrase presents the rationale for this foundational Constitutional Amendment:

“A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State...”

Our founders recognized the need for Americans’ to organize themselves to defend against Indians, rebellious slaves and the British should they try to take back their New World real estate, which they tried and failed to do in the War of 1812.

But notice the words “well regulated.” The Founders truly feared unruly armed militias. Bacon’s Rebellion a hundred years before the Revolution had shown them what could happen when self-styled militias got out of control. And the Whiskey Rebellion, which had to be put down by President Washington himself, proved the wisdom of the first words of the Second Amendment.

On January 6th the Proud Boys, the Oath Keepers, the Three Percenters and others assaulted our Nation's Capital. Only the District of Columbia’s strict gun laws kept these UNREGULATED militias from realizing a victorious insurrection.

Fortunately the Supreme Court still holds that local governments have the right to regulate gun ownership even if they can’t outlaw firearms outright. The Founders would have expected this. They didn’t want armed fools to endanger the Republic.

Supporters of the Constitutional right to bear arms should pay more attention to the meaning of the ENTIRE Second Amendment.

Next time we may not be so lucky.



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