Kristi Noem to NRA: If Dallas Burns You, Come to South Dakota

Dallas city official concerned about marches, protests against pro-gun group

Rep. Kristi Noem, R-S.D., said she would welcome the NRA to her home state to hold its annual convention. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Rep. Kristi Noem of South Dakota would be thrilled if the National Rifle Association moved its convention from Dallas to somewhere in her home state.

The gun lobbying giant and political machine plans to hold its annual convention in Dallas in May. Mayor Pro Tem Dwaine Caraway has expressed concern over the NRA’s presence in a city that saw five police officers slain by a sniper in 2016 and bore witness to President John F. Kennedy’s assassination in 1963.

Caraway had not spoken directly to any NRA officials when he delivered his comments Monday.

“I am saying to the NRA, reconsider yourselves coming to Dallas,” Caraway said at a press conference. “There will be marches and demonstrations should they come to Dallas, and we, Dallas, will be the ones that have to bear the cost and the responsibility and to protect the citizens.”

Caraway’s comments are politically opportunistic hogwash, conservative critics have said. Any potential backlash to the NRA’s presence would be a back-seat consideration to the economic opportunities arising from hosting the convention, they contend.

“You know, I’m not concerned about that. We don’t go into every opportunity looking for what kind of protests there might be,” Noem told KSFY. “I think South Dakota would certainly welcome that convention.”

The convention is scheduled for May 4-6 in the Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center in Dallas. It will be the group’s 147th annual meeting. Organizers expect at least 80,000 people to visit more than 800 booths and “exhibitors” over the weekend.

If Dallas doesn’t want that kind of exposure, Noem, who is running for governor this year, would welcome the NRA to her state with open arms.

“Oh, I was absolutely serious. We’d love to have the NRA convention here,” she said. “That would be a challenge I would love to tackle.”

The NRA signaled Tuesday it had no intention to change its plans and move away from Dallas. The group signed a contract with the city in 2012 to hold its convention there.

“No politician anywhere can tell the NRA not to come to their city,” NRA spokesman Andrew Arulanandam said. “We are already there. Dallas, like every American city and community, is populated by NRA members.”

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