We reported earlier this week on the great state of South Dakota's involvement in the SHOT Show. After Thursday's press conference, NRAblog secured an exclusive interview with Department of Tourism Secretary Richard Benda, pictured at right, who elaborated on why his office had such a presence at the Vegas-based trade show.
"We don't just talk about the outdoor industry," Benda said of his state. "We live it. We get it. South Dakota is absolutely not going to regulate the firearms industry out of business."
Benda, who was born and raised in Kimball, S.D., invited businessman Dick Williamson, pictured at left, to join him at the press conference. Williamson's Lakota Archery recently relocated to the Cheyenne River Reservation in South Dakota. (The state is home to nine Native American tribes.) Williamson addressed the audience on Thursday, carefully outlining the incentives South Dakota offers business owners – primarily, no state income tax. We hope you make a profit, and we hope you keep it," Benda told the crowd. Read more about the specific incentives.
"My job is my passion," Williamson said, noting that his grandmother grew up on the very reservation his business is now based. "South Dakota wants to help."
Benda, who grew up hunting pheasants on his walk to his after-school job at a local bowling alley, appreciates his state's devotion to the outdoors. "Our culture is a culture of hunting. We're a natural fit for the firearms industry," he said.
The Mount Rushmore State is home to approximately 800,000 people, Benda said, and the future is bright. "Our citizens are creative and productive. We like to work with our hands." Stay tuned to NRAblog on more from this forward-looking state -- truly a friend to the firearms industry.