OUR VOICE: Mixed feelings on governor’s gun trip to Connecticut

Farm Forum

The differences between Texas Gov. Rick Perry and South Dakota Gov. Dennis Daugaard are plenty: Perry is brash, outspoken and never misses a chance to walk in front of a camera, while Daugaard plays it humbly and close to the vest.

The contrast was apparent when both governors visited Connecticut gunmakers Monday to try to lure their business out of that state. Perry went with fanfare; everyone knew when he would be there, what he was doing and when he would leave.

Though the two men met at the door of one of the plants, Daugaard going in, Perry coming out, they couldn’t have approached the opportunity any differently.

We have mixed feelings about the trip.

The reason the gun manufacturers in that state aren’t feeling perfectly welcome is because of the business climate there. And that 26 people — including 20 little children — were massacred by gunfire in an elementary school in December.

Connecticut residents and lawmakers just don’t have the stomach for guns now.

While we applaud Daugaard for trying to lure business to the friendly climate of South Dakota, the whole thing feels wrong.

Daugaard told the Rapid City Journal that not only is South Dakota a better state for manufacturers, but “because of our hunting tradition, there’s a pretty wide acceptance of firearms in South Dakota. . . . It’s a normal thing for South Dakotans to have firearms in their homes.”

If gunmakers want to move to South Dakota, we welcome them. It’s steady work, lucrative work. It is a good fit here.

But courting them, in a place still reeling from one of the most bloody, brutal, heartbreaking acts of violence we can remember, feels like trying to profit from tragedy.

It suits Rick Perry. It doesn’t suit Dennis Daugaard.

— American News editorial board