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     Independence Day: “The United States is the only country with a known birthday . . . There is no Republican, no Democrat on the Fourth of July. All are Americans.” – James Gillespie Blaine, American statesman

No one knew more about Independence Day and the importance of the Second Amendment than George Washington.

“Firearms stand next in importance to the Constitution itself,” the Father of His Country famously said. “They are the American people’s liberty teeth and keystone under independence. From the hour the Pilgrims landed to the present day . . . the rifle and pistol are equally indispensable.”

Inspiring words. So much so that I recently was moved to fire a shot for the Second Amendment by purchasing a .45 Smith and Wesson Governor.

I’ve been watching for a deal on one of these versatile revolvers, so this year’s Independence Day feels a lot like Christmas.

It’s a beauty, with its stainless steel barrel, tritium night sight, and six-round capacity.

The salesman was pretty excited about it, too, as we discussed the different options for home security.

“I load mine with two .410 shells first,” he said, his face radiating enthusiasm. “That way, I can cover one or more intruders in the most difficult situations. Then I load two .45 ACPs to take care of what the .410s failed to do. After that, in the other two chambers, I use the .45 Colts because by then, whoever’s left will be taking off.”

The salesman was obviously a gun enthusiast and much more concerned with home security and personal protection than I am.

I figure to use the gun for rabbits, ground squirrels and possibly a raccoon down at the barn after twilight, if necessary. Secretary of State Shantel Krebs used a similar gun to kill a rattlesnake, and we do have some of those in Lyman County.

I cannot imagine using a gun on another human being. On the other hand, if a meth-head showed up at 2 a.m. he might be dissuaded by the impressive barrel of the Governor.

At the same time, I also reapplied for a conceal/carry permit since mine had expired.  I’ve joined more than 100,000 South Dakotans who have done the same thing. Not that you need a permit to own or carry a gun, thank goodness. That’s protected by the Second Amendment.

This July 4, I’ll hoist the flag, fire up the grill and watch some fireworks. But more important, I’ll salute the Founding Fathers and the militia who won our independence, and those who have served in our military since then to make certain that we keep it.

July 4, 2018