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Noem: Media and Democrats using school shooting to push anti-gun agenda

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Governor Kristi Noem speaking at the 2022 NRA convention in Houston, three days after a gunman kill 19 children and two teachers at an elementary school in Texas.

Governor Kristi Noem says the media and Democrats are seizing the shooting at a Texas elementary school to push an anti-gun agenda.

Noem made those remarks Friday at the National Rifle Association convention in Houston.

Her comments come three days after an 18-year-old gunman wielding an AR-15-style rifle killed 19 children and two teachers in Uvalde, Texas.

Noem says the resulting calls for gun restrictions are "garbage."

“When gang members kill innocent children in Baltimore or Cleveland they might give it a mention on the local news,” Noem says. “But when a deranged, mentally unstable murderer who fits the left’s political narrative kills innocent children, the media seizes the opportunity to paint millions of law-abiding gun owners and you and me as barbarians.”

Noem called on Second Amendment rights advocates to double down on protecting access to guns.

Noem is heavily favored in her race to again win the Republican nomination for governor on June 7. If she wins, one of her opponents in the November general election will be Jamie Smith, a Democratic legislator from Sioux Falls.

“This is another example of Governor Noem’s tone-deaf and divisive style of politics," Smith says. "I would say also the governor of Texas and lieutenant governor of Texas had the wherewithal to know that this was not an event to speak at. Yet, our governor chooses to go ahead with it. It’s an example of poor leadership.”

Smith says now is a time for leaders to find reasonable compromise to help prevent tragedies like the Uvalde school shooting from occurring in the future.

Lee Strubinger is SDPB’s Rapid City-based news and political reporter. A former reporter for Fort Lupton Press (CO) and Colorado Public Radio, Lee holds a master’s in public affairs reporting from the University of Illinois-Springfield.