Democracy in action

Capital Journal, Pierre, S.D.: They made the trek to Pierre a second time last weekend, just as they did in January. A group of 60 people this time turned out to rally peacefully here at the state Capitol in support of the Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms. That’s a smaller group than at the Jan. 19 rally, when supporters estimated that about 150 people showed up, but it’s still impressive — that a few dozen people from all across South Dakota would travel to Pierre in winter to speak out on behalf of the Constitution.

It speaks well of the importance of our Bill of Rights and also of the role of guns in American culture and American tradition. We are not that far from the frontier in this state. But it also speaks to something even more fundamentally important to our country, and that is the tradition of democracy itself.

Of course what’s behind the rally is that there are attempts afoot in some states and perhaps in Washington to try to restrict access to some types of assault-style firearms and large-capacity ammunition clips after mass shootings in 2012 in Connecticut and elsewhere.

One of the organizers of the event told the Capital Journal he doesn’t think those efforts will succeed as long as responsible gun owners speak out publicly about their Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms.

Distances involved

Even the smaller showing of supporters at the event does not bother the organizers. They attributed the smaller turnout to the distance involved in getting to Pierre from other parts of the state, and they said the next step for Second Amendment supporters will likely be to hold rallies in other large communities.

No matter what your view of assault weapons and large-capacity ammunition clips, that is admirable.

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