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Governor shows off Christmas gift -- a gun

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Rarely does a sitting governor of a state show off Christmas gifts to the public. Even more rarely does a sitting governor show off a gift when that gift was a gun.

But this is one of the many reasons Gov. Nikki Haley, R-S.C., is unique.

Several news organizations reported that today Haley wrote on her Facebook page that Santa brought her a gift of a new handgun -- a pistol, a Beretta PX4 Storm. She also posted a photo of the pistol on her Facebook page, which can be found here.

"Our family had a wonderful Christmas together," Haley wrote, "I must have been good. Santa gave me a Beretta PX4 Storm." Of course, the "Santa" Haley refers to is her husband, who has served with the National Guard in Afghanistan for the past year.

According to WYFF Channel 4 News in Greenville, S.C.,

The company describes the gun as "well-suited for concealed carry yet perfectly at home in a duty holster. Its compact and controllable design accommodates plainclothes operations, home defense, or a day at the range … The 16 round capacity (15+1 in 9mm) provides for true combat effectiveness, while still remaining compact. Equipped with an accessory rail, new ambidextrous slide stop and new integral/retractable lanyard loop, the Px4 Compact is highly flexible and mission ready."

The Hill reports that the pistol in question costs $575 and comes with a magazine that can hold up to 17 rounds. There are no limits on the number of rounds a citizen can possess in South Carolina. In fact, the state is one of the most gun-friendly in the nation.

In South Carolina citizens are not required to possess a state permit in order to own a handgun, rifle, or shotgun. Only if they plan to carry concealed or unconcealed do they need a concealable weapons permit. Machine guns are not allowed.

Haley has always been a strong supporter of gun rights. During her run for governor in 2010, Haley wrote,

Few things are as clearly defined as the right of individual Americans to own and use firearms. The right to bear arms was deemed so critical by our Founders that they spelled it out in absolute terms, and any governmental action that undermines that right is in turn undermining the very freedoms that built our great nation.

Haley is considered one of the Tea Party governors who were elected at the height of the Tea Party rallies that swept the country in 2010. Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin came to the state to campaign on her behalf. But contrary to Tea Party critics who charge that the movement is racist, sexist, and discriminatory against other religions and cultures, Haley is an example of just how wrong such critics have been.

As Sikh Indians, Haley's parents immigrated to the United States from India before she was born. She converted to Christianity from the Sikh religion when she joined the Methodist church at the time of her marriage to Michael Haley. Although she describes herself as a Christian, she still attends Sikh religious services out of respect for her parents, in addition to those at her Methodist church in Lexington County, S.C., where she sits on the Administrative Board.

Haley's term as governor has been marked by a consistent stance in favor of creating a friendly business climate for new industry, lower taxes and fewer government regulations, and smaller government. She has proposed the privatization of many government services but has been hampered by the state legislature.

But the figures show that Haley's economic policies have enabled the state to buck national trends. She inherited an unemployment rate of roughly 12 percent, much higher than the national average. Today the rate is in the 7 percent range, consistent with the national unemployment rate.

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