Kristi Noem says ‘I am the NRA’ ahead of NRA 2023 national convention

Second Amendment


Gov. Kristi Noem will be in Indianapolis on Friday, attending the National Rifle Association convention and is scheduled to give remarks at the group’s annual leadership forum.

She gave a New Hampshire radio show Wednesday a preview of her remarks, saying she would speak about the history of the Second Amendment and why it’s important.

“It’s not just about standing for freedom, it’s also about winning the hearts and minds of Americans,” Noem said on Good Morning NH, adding the NRA needs to have a clear message about why its members continue to defend the Second Amendment. 

“I don’t know of any other grandma that’s going to be standing there giving a speech to the NRA. I don’t know of any other mom standing there talking about these things,” Noem said. “I’m a different kind of messenger for the NRA, but I am the NRA.”

Noem will also receive the 2023 NRA Distinguished Hunters Leadership Award on Thursday evening ahead of the convention’s start. She will be presented the award, because of her “accomplishments in promoting hunters and hunting and the North American Model of Wildlife Conservation.”

Noem is also expected to sign an executive order during her speech Friday, according to Ian Fury, the governor’s spokesperson. The order will “further protect the Second Amendment rights of South Dakotans.” Exact details are unclear at this time.

More: In contrast to some elected leaders, poll shows SD voters support more gun restrictions

The second term governor, an avid hunter, is a staunch supporter of the NRA. One of her first actions as governor in 2019 was signing a constitutional carry bill that allowed for concealed carry without a permit.

The NRA’s political donation wing, the NRA of America Political Victory Fund, has also donated to Noem’s political career, especially when she served in Congress. Between 2011 and 2016, the NRA Political Victory Fund donated at least $7,000 to her House campaigns, according to federal campaign finance reports.

She’s also had A-plus ratings and endorsements from the NRA ahead of elections.

It’s not the first time Noem has spoken at an NRA convention. In May 2022, days after a gunman in Uvalde, Texas, killed 21 children and adults at a local elementary school, Noem told the audience at the NRA convention in Houston the U.S. needed a stronger gun lobby.

More: At NRA convention, Gov. Kristi Noem accuses Democrats of using tragedy to advance gun control agenda

This year’s NRA convention comes on the heels of two mass shootings in recent weeks across the United States, including a shooting at a private Catholic school in Tennessee where three children and three adults were killed. 

At least 149 mass shootings have happened in the U.S. since January, according to the Gun Violence Archive, a non-profit group that tracks gun violence through police reports, news articles and other public sources.

Other expected speakers at the NRA leadership forum include former President Donald Trump, former Vice President Mike Pence, with video messages from Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis and former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley. 

Trump and Haley are currently running for the GOP nomination for the 2024 presidential race. 



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