Gun rights supporters rally in Pierre

Around 50 South Dakotans gathered in the state Capitol building for a rally in favor of gun rights, arguing for the importance of guns for personal protection and to ward off tyranny.

It was the second such rally in the South Dakota Capitol this year, after one held in January.

"The Founding Fathers were talking about a God-given right, our basic human right of self-defense," said Nancy First, a Rapid City activist. "Responsible, law-abiding gun-owners stop approximately 2,500,000 crimes per year."

Speakers called gun-free zones counter-productive and dangerous, saying armed citizens are the best defense against mass shooters.

Attendees also heard from activist Kitty Werthmann talking about her experience growing up under Adolf Hitler’s rule in Austria. Werthmann argued that the German people might have resisted Hitler had they not been first disarmed.

State lawmakers Lance Russell and Jeff Monroe both spoke at the rally, while several other sent letters to be read out loud.

"Not only is the government 2,000 miles away in Washington, D.C., potentially harmful to your freedoms and liberties protected by the Constitution, but so is the government right here in Pierre," said Russell.