“University” of “Sparta” Offers Gun Training to Unnerved South Dakotans

The word university lost significance in South Dakota in 1989 when we decided to call Northern, Dakota State, and Black Hills State universities because College just didn’t sound impressive enough. (Funny: Mines does fine being known as School….)

So I suppose I shouldn’t breathe too much fire over Aberdonian Justin Hoffman calling his gun school the University of Sparta. It’s clear even without Kaylyn Deiter’s quote marks that Hoffman isn’t running a university; he’s just trying to keep folks full of fear and Fox News from shooting their toes off:

In February 2014, Northern State University graduate Justin Hoffman launched an endeavor that would ultimately become what the “university” is today.

Hoffman said he was motivated to start the business in response to the gun-related tragedies, such as the Newtown, Conn., elementary school shooting in 2012.

“I was working at a gun shop at the time and kept having people come into the store and buy guns who didn’t really know what they were doing with them,” Hoffman said. He started teaching classes privately, gaining such a large amount of interest that he decided to take his private business public [Kaylyn Deiter, “Aberdeen Business Offers ‘University’ for Guns,” Aberdeen American News, 2015.07.13].

Lots of people buying guns who don’t know what they are doing… and so, responsible gun shop owners, you don’t let those people walk out of your stores with guns, right?

But never mind university; let’s talk Sparta! If Hoffman were really training Spartans, he’d train us to kill our sickly babies and flog (pistol-whip?) the survivors to make them tougher. The Spartans were also bad at training whole, integral people who appreciated the full universe (ah, back to the root of university!):

It is the standards of civilized men not of beasts that must be kept in mind, for it is good men not beasts who are capable of real courage. Those like the Spartans who concentrate on the one and ignore the other in their education turn men into machines and in devoting themselves to one single aspect of city’s life, end up making them inferior even in that [Aristotle, via Wikipedia].

I suppose a Spartan university professor could argue that I am somehow a beastly machine for ignoring the martial arts and focusing on the pen instead of the sword. But consider that we don’t live in Sparta, where we daily face the predations of invaders who must be fought off by every citizen taking up arms in mortal combat. Rarely will you pick up a gun and use it to protect your rights and improve your quality of life. You can use this blog every day to better understand and improve your world. If you want bang for your buck, you don’t buy a gun-training class; you ring the tip jar on Dakota Free Press!

(Hmmm… maybe I should rename the blog again, call it Dakota Free University….)

81 Responses to “University” of “Sparta” Offers Gun Training to Unnerved South Dakotans

  1. larry kurtz

    “We found no support for the hypothesis that owning more guns leads to a drop or a reduction in violent crime,” said study researcher Michael Monuteaux, an epidemiologist and professor of pediatrics at Harvard Medical School. “Instead, we found the opposite.”


  2. Greetings from the University of Okoboji!

  3. David Newquist

    University meant, before it was reduced to a marketing term, a collection of schools and colleges that engage in research as well as teaching. Any course offering would have to include a review of the literature on a subject, such as that cited by Larry Kurtz. The use of the term to cover some money-making scheme is fraud.

  4. Bill Dithmer

    I cant believe someone just up and took my idea. From 2013 on the streets of Madville.

    Its wheel gun training for your kids twelve and older. That’s right now you can arm your kids before they leave for a school day. Just imagine the peace of mind that you will feel knowing your kid might be able to stop a school shooting before it starts.

    This is a full two day comprehensive course covering the following areas of interest.

    We will address the issues that naturally come along in instances like these.
    1. Care and handling of a side arm.
    2. Target identification.
    3. The care and emergency treatment of a gunshot wound.
    4. We will give them a step by step guide to securing a school with the least amount of collateral damage.
    5. One whole hour on the firing range to get a feel for their weapon.
    6. And finally a dandy diploma suitable for framing showing their competency at the time of their graduation from our academy.

    Our two instructors have a combined 100 years experience and have been certified by me”The Blindman” to have at least one of their original teeth.

    Just think in a mater of two days you can have your premenstrually unfriendly, hormone raging teenage daughter handling a side arm like a pro. You dads can be proud of your testosterone pumping he-man son for the way he carries himself on the street without fear of someone with a weapon scaring him.

    This will give school a whole new meaning when the kids take control of their own safety. No more worries.

    Each and every graduate of our academy will receive at no additional cost.
    1. A new Ruger LCR .38 Sp with quick acquisition laser site.
    2. A comfortable underarm holster with a name sticker pasted on the side.
    3.And a brand new box of .38 Sp ammo

    All this for the amazing price of two thousand dollars. that’s right just $2,000 is all that separates you from a safer and friendlies school, “and home.”

    What are you waiting for?
    Class size is limited to thirty kids.
    Kids must carry their own insurance.
    There will be no refunds after payment is made.
    All payments must be made in full.

    The CHURCH OF BILL is striving to make your community a safer place for everyone. Isn’t it time to invest in the future?

    The Blindman

  5. Where do you think he got the idea from Blindman? You made a big mistake by not copyrighting it or putting a patent on it. Damn, think of the franchise fees you missed out on.

  6. Although I’m sure it wasn’t the state’s intent, the word ‘university’ took on a Canadian meaning in 1989. In the True North, colleges are technical schools. Asking a Canadian with a university degree where they went to college can be taken as an insult as I discovered early in my sojourn here. (The terms are even more mixed in the UK and Ireland, home of schools like the University College Dublin.)

    Anyway, the University of Sparta name fits in with the likes of the University of Okoboji. It should be good for selling t-shirts too.

  7. Training is never a bad thing… I have trained many people who have never handled a gun how to do so safety (although I do it for free because I enjoy it). Would you prefer that nobody offer these services? Then you really have the problem of armed people that don’t understand basic safe handling. Guns are not going to go away, so lets train people to handle them properly.

  8. “Lots of people buying guns who don’t know what they are doing… and so, responsible gun shop owners, you don’t let those people walk out of your stores with guns, right?”

    As strange as it may sound – that really isn’t their obligation nor purpose. When I go to the pharmacy to buy Ibuprofen the Pharmacist isn’t obligated to check to see if I know how to take it… and if I appear ignorant he isn’t about to refuse to sell it to me. He could perhaps – but we know he won’t because he has a reasonable assumption that I’m capable of reading the package insert so that I know the risks and the dosing information. Same story when I go to purchase a new car – the dealership doesn’t care if I know how to drive provided I’m willing to pay for the car before I take it off the lot. Another example is alcohol – as long as I’m old enough to consume it, a retailer will sell it to me regardless of how knowledgeable I am with proper use. I should not expect them to walk we through the user’s manual or explain potential problems with these products – I’m on my own.

    Bottom line – although much more damage is done to our population by pharmaceuticals, motor vehicles, and alcohol than is done by firearms, there is no requirement for proper training to purchase these products nor is it the responsibility of the retailer to ensure we have a clue. This is that whole pesky concept of personal responsibility that seems to be such a dividing point amongst us.

    BTW – so as long as for-profit diploma mills like Globe University and National American University use the term in their names, I’m not about to balk at someone using it for any other for-profit venture. Especially when that venture could save a life.

  9. Bill Dithmer

    Jerry, this is the age of specialization, and THE CHURCH OF BILL is ready to fill the void.
    Thats right, now we are offering sound sighting for all the visually impaired gun owners. Just think of the peaceful secure feeling you’ll have knowing that you can hit what you hear with that Desert Eagle.

    Really people, there is nothing more dangerous then a gun owner that has a little knowledge of how his firearm works but lacks the common sense to be safe. Will this school do that? Its hard to say.

    Maybe what most people need is gun owners kindergarten. Then a learner’s permit, then the proficiency and psychology test, and then your carry permit.

    Ya I like that idea.

    The Blindman

  10. mike from iowa

    We don’t want to inconvenience any future serial killers with burdensome regulations like proficiency and total familiarity with people killing devices. No 72 hours of total bombardment from anti-gun zealots before you can purchase. No drug testing of poor people before they buy. Just turn them loose and hope for the best and remember,when all else fails,blame Obama for taking your guns away.

  11. “Really people, there is nothing more dangerous then a gun owner that has a little knowledge of how his firearm works but lacks the common sense to be safe.”

    Except perhaps an elected politician with a little knowledge of how the Constitution works but lacks the common sense to apply it.

  12. mike from iowa

    Gun fanatics,by law,should police their ranks. The next time some “responsible” gun owner’s gun goes off accidently,a good guy with a gun should immediately remove such individuals from the gene pool. I know I’d feel safer for once.

  13. mike from iowa

    Wingnuts like to claim the constitution is static,but they sure do love re-interpreting the amendments to say what they want them to say.

  14. Douglas Wiken

    Add “Gun training for your dog”.
    Introductory training:
    1. We will teach your dog to smell gun oil.
    2 We will teach your dog to safely pick up a pistol in his mouth.
    3 We will teach your dog to safely drop a pistol from his mouth.
    4. We will teach your dog to place one paw on pistol.
    5. We will teach your dog to use the other paw to aim the gun.
    6. Finally, we will teach your dog to pull trigger with other paw.
    Only $500 for above instruction.

    Target identification for dogs is another course. This and other courses may be combined for a special package price.

    Simply send a dog print and a photo ID of your Fido with a cashier’s check.

    We also send liability insurance for your dog up to $50 in case of accidental death or dismemberment of another dog, or $100 for death of a human..adult or child. Law enforcement officers are not included in this policy.

    Limited time for this special offer.

  15. Jeff Kroon

    What Nathan said.

  16. i was in a guard unit that was composed of mostly US postal employee’s….. i trained them on the proper use and care of the M-16…. lookin back that might not have been such a good idea…

  17. Barbara, good point from up north!

    Nathan, Jeff, I agree, if you’re going to have a firearm, you’d better learn how to use it properly. But I still question the utility of that training: why spend money on training that you are extremely unlikely to ever use?

    But how about requiring training to have a gun?

  18. A word to the paranoid. Enrolling in a gun university would mean you would have to use your name and therefore Obama would know you have a gun and where you live. Then He could banish you to Texas where He will then conquer under Jade Helm so He can take said gun from you. Be berrry beery afraid while continuing to watch fox news for your updates.

  19. Deb Geelsdottir

    I too, am a proud graduate of the University of Okoboji and I have the t-shirt to prove it.

    Blindman, how can I become a member of The Church of Bill? Do I get a t-shirt to prove it?

    Seriously, classes teaching people how to safely use their firearms (contradiction in terms), is a good idea. A much better idea: Very stringent training and testing, plus extensive background checks Before Purchase is permitted.

  20. Roger Cornelius

    When is the University of Sparta’s homecoming? Who are they playing?

    The prom should be something to behold, instead of dancing they will be showing off their weapons.

  21. barry freed

    Can’t win with this blog. The guy is trying to reduce gun injuries and look what he gets: Name calling and a load of propaganda complete with statistical lies by a “Harvard” hired hack who makes his living doing research for the anti-gun Joyce Foundation. Ooo, he’s from “Harvard”, he must be smarter than us. Google: Harvard Criminals.
    Another dog whistle using someone actually doing something followed by panhandling from the author. Pu! Go get your money from The Joyce Foundation, you have earned it. “You’ll pay to know what you what you think”. Rev. Bob Dobbs
    We need to teach the NRA Gun Safety Course in Grade School… if we really care about preventable death and injury.
    Let the jerque de circ begin.

  22. barry freed

    Guns are a dangerous Genie that can’t be put back in the bottle. They are serious business and nothing to be flip or dishonest about. If anyone has an idea for gun control, and an explanation of how that idea would work (in the real world) I, for one, would love to hear it.

  23. mike from iowa

    NRA used to be all about gun safety. No more. They are the devil’s spawn. They pimp for gun makers and have never seen a gun control regulation they can abide by.

  24. Paul Seamans

    I totally agree with Mike, the NRA has lost its way and is an arm of the far right GOP. I decided that they really lost me when they paid speakers like Sarah Palin to headline their national convention a couple of years ago.

  25. Joseph Nelson

    I support the idea of this university. Everyone has a keyboard, does not mean they know how to effectively wield it. I think there will be less accidents and deaths from mishandling of firearms as education on proper use of firearms increases. Cory, why would you poo poo this? In a country, as well as a state, where the constitutional right to bear arms exists for every citizen, would you not want your fellow citizens educated on how to properly and effectively use them? You might rarely need to use CPR on your family, but I do not think you would use that as an excuse not to learn and maintain proper CPR techniques.

    As for Sparta, America is modern day Sparta. We intimidate the world by our overwhelming military force (only country to use nuclear weapons to win a war!), and we also dispose of babies that are unwanted or “defective” because they do not fit into our world view. Of course, not everything matches up, but more does than I would like it to.

    I suppose you are sort of making an argument that this business should not exist, but I am not sure if it is based on the ad hominem fallacy or the genetic fallacy.

    As for changing your blog’s name, I am all for it. Everyone knows that the historical use of the word “press” refers to the actual pressing of ink into paper, which your blog does not appear to do. And just “Dakota”? You never seem to report on North Dakota, so that’s a bit misleading…. ;)

  26. I see Rich Hilgemann from Aberdeen ripped Cory on Facebook.
    If he had any balls he’ll come on this blog and we’ll have a discussion-or maybe he has to stay in the comfort of his friends

  27. I’m with Craig on this one. People taking the time, effort, and spending the money to learn how to properly comport themselves with their firearms can’t be anything but a GOOD thing, and is not worthy of derision.

    You may ask: “why spend money on training that you are extremely unlikely to ever use?”

    An individual is also unlikely to ever be in a tornado. Doesn’t hurt to have the training and forethought to know what to do when one strikes, though.

    And if this fellow is also teaching safe handling & operation, then it’s exceptionally valuable for folks inexperienced with firearms.

  28. I agree Wayne B that any training is good.

    But what about Cory’s question about making mandatory training when you purchase a firearm? What can it hurt?
    Sounds good to me.

  29. Being raised was a military brat, I was drilled in the military rules about firearms extensively. Personnel who were assigned to carry military weapons on duty had to turn their weapons into the armor when leaving duty. Very few personnel and on very few occasions were given authority for anyone to carry firearms off post or to their on post residence when not on duty. Personal firearms had to be registered with the adjutant’s office and required a pass on foreign posts to be carried off and back on the post. The rules were strict about the handling of personal firearms in terms of safety and appropriate use. My understanding is that some restrictions were loosened when the military became all volunteer, but that after the Ft. Hood shootings have been reapplied.

    It is disconcerting to find some trying to compare the handling of firearms to the purchase of cars and medicines. Anyone can buy a car, but is not permitted to drive one on public thoroughfares without a license. And for dangerous drugs, one is required to consult with the pharmacist the first time the prescription is issued. Considering that 100,000 people are shot in the U.S. each year and 30.000 are killed, it is insane thatpeople can purchase a weapon without proof of competence and good purpose in its use.

    It is more disconcerting to seen anti-gun law advocates post such incoherent and often abusive rages. The resentment against Harvard researchers who think they are smarter than others is stated in such a manner that suggests that almost everyone is smarter than the author. In the sound and fury over guns, there is an absence of facts and cogent reasoning. And these are the ones who insist on carrying weapons.

  30. mike from iowa

    Not a thing wrong with learning safe gun handling,but you can’t get a drivers license without mandatory classes and hands on driver training. You can’t drive a truck w/o specialized mandatory training. You can buy any weapon on the market w/o even a background check and no training because of the NRA and its chokehold on scared-ass politicians who prefer being paid to vote for korporate amerika than for the welfare of their constituents.

  31. Anne,

    When the Fort Hood shootings took place, the policy for that time was that nobody could carry firearms on base unless it was for duty requirements. It has actually been pointed out that if someone had a firearm they could have stopped the person who was shooting people, but in large military bases are not armed. The Fort Hood shooting is actually a perfect example of how the bad guy will have a gun when nobody else does, he was not allowed to have that gun but since he was not following the rules he did.

    If anything, the Fort Hood shooting is being used as a reason by some to start allowing people to be armed on base.


  32. Joan Brown

    I attended Dakota State University back in the day when it was known as General Beadle State Teacher’s College. I only took the two year Elementary Ed. Course and really didn’t like when there was talk about changing the name. There isn’t anything distinctive about Dakota State. For anybody that doesn’t know, General Beadle instigated a law of something, setting aside a certain amount of public land for educational purposes. I guess it could be said the old name had a historical connection.

  33. Nate, apparently you must not be aware of the serious mental issues that accompanied soldiers home from the war front. The military can and must do what it must do to keep garrisoned troops from carrying weapons. What do they do with them when they go off base? Think about Texas and Jade Helm 15, how would paranoid fox viewers react to armed Black and Latino troops walking into Walmart shopping. I am not against the 2nd amendment, I still have my original NRA card that I was proud to have at one time as it showed that I went through the NRA sponsored hunter safety course that taught me and my buddies how to behave correctly with a firearm. Look, cops and legislators misplace guns all the time, how would it be if military grade firearms got indiscriminately dropped off in the public? Attention Walmart shoppers, we have located a little boy that is about 10, please come to disarm him as he is packing a SAW.

  34. I feel I need to clarify, I am not talking about whether they are allowed to carry around military rifles, machine guns, and grenade launchers. I am talking about personally owned standard firearms that you can go buy at the local sporting goods store.

    As far as people walking around armed in uniform, they are military, they have had plenty of training, and I don’t have a problem with it.

  35. Don Coyote

    I have to chuckle over the use of “university” by the numerous small state schools since most of the elite universities such as Harvard, University of Chicago (go Maroons) and Yale all call their undergraduate schools “colleges”. And from personal experience it was a term of distinction among a sea of graduates.

    And consider this Cory, Plato, Aristotle’s teacher, admired the organization of the Spartan education system and seeks to emulate it. Writing in his “The Laws”, Plato states “and the children shall come not only if their parents please, but if they do not please; there shall be compulsory education, as the saying is, of all and sundry, as far this is possible; and the pupils shall be regarded as belonging to the state rather than to their parents.” And Plato was an equal opportunist wanting to educate the girls as well, something that wasn’t done in Athens: “My law would apply to females as well as males; they shall both go through the same exercises. I assert without fear of contradiction that gymnastic and horsemanship are as suitable to women as to men.”

    Even Aristotle demonstrated a grudging respect for the Spartan education system when he writes in “Politics”: “Neither must we suppose that any one of the citizens belongs to himself, for they all belong to the state, and are each of them a part of the state, and the care of each part is inseparable from the care of the whole. In this particular as in some others the Lacedaemonians [Spartans] are to be praised, for they take the greatest pains about their children, and make education the business of the state.”

    Now go after that dastardly Rick Knobe for his use of university in his radio show, View Point University.

  36. So then, you would be okay if there were a group of Black and Latino military personnel dressed in full battle rattle, armed with some pearl handled smoke wagons, walking around the mall. I am trying to make clear that to you it may be peachy but to Jade Helm 15 paranoid folks, that would not fly. The Texans are clearly disturbed with a Hummer driving down the street. The military does things by a set of rules that we all agreed with and one of them does not involve open carry of your Saturday Night Special on the base. The military only need to remember a system that was put in place in Vietnam called “fragging”. The last thing anyone wants is for a senior member to direct an order only to find it disregarded while looking down the bore of a .44

  37. teach NRA in grade school. along with texas school board. and the koch brothers. great idea barry carry.

    that’s why democrats exist. it’ll never happen friend

    joan, do i detect a snide reference to OUR GEN’L HARNEY, who we all love (C)KOTA?

  38. I haven’t been on here much in the last several months until the last few days. Gotta get on and keep up! If nothing else the sarcasm and humor spiced with some nuggets of truth and wisdom are just too good to miss! LOL!

  39. Speaking of Universities most of them wouldn’t let anyone get away with citing Wikipedia as a valid source of information regardless of its accuracy. In attacking the school for its choice of title you make yourself look silly and lose sight of what it is you are trying to say which I’m not sure exactly what that is. Learning how to handle a gun is bad? If we do we should do it at a school that doesn’t reference anyrhing related to combat in its name? Will that make the school more effective? Again, I’m not sure what you’re trying to say.

  40. Craig, you compare gun sellers to pharmacists, car dealers, and alcohol sellers. Interesting: each of those products is sold with a variety of restrictions:

    Ibuprofen is relatively innocuous, but pharmacists keep the cold medicine behind the counter and limit how much they sell to prevent meth manufacturing. Pharmacists won’t sell me much of their wares unless I present a prescription from a doctor.

    Car dealers won’t finance our purchases unless we pass a credit check. We can’t use our purchases unless we pass a state test.

    Alcohol sellers can settle for asking my ID. However, don’t bartenders have an obligation to cut off patrons if they appear to be drunk?

    Each of Craig’s examples suggests that gun sellers do indeed have the responsibility my question suggests and that gun buyers perhaps should have to clear more hurdles.

  41. Barry: you can win with this blog, if you present some real evidence to support your point. Putting “Harvard” in quote marks does not by itself refute the evidence presented. That’s just cheap and lazy anti-intellectualism.

    Saying that I’m just call names doesn’t advance or refute any real argument, particularly when I haven’t called Mr. Hoffman names. I heard the same sentiment in a Facebook discussion of this post: friends of the gun trainer accused me of “mocking” a local business and engaging in personal insult. Guns fans appear to be extremely sensitive to any challenge to their worship of guns. They perceive a personal attack where there is none (much as many people who buy guns perceive grave dangers to their lives and property where there is little compared to other political and economic threats to their liberty). They freak out when I, instead of calling names, just say, “You know, folks, the service this guy sells, along with the product his training promotes, might not actually provide you as much practical use as studying and discussing current events.” Why are gun owners so sensitive?

  42. Don, if we really want to get specific about the use of the word “university,” Rick Knobe’s appropriation of the word for his own commercial purposes is closer to the proper use of the word than Hoffman’s. Knobe is not running a university, but Knobe probes a much larger segment of the “universe” of interesting and useful topics than any gun trainer. So if I were dedicating my blog to spotlighting all the people who misuse the word “university”, I would tackle Hoffman first, then probably spend time beating up the diploma mills Craig mentions, then maybe get around to criticizing Knobe, only faintly, because Knobe’s actually doing the world some good (and KSOO shouldn’t have cut him and Dan and Todd back to one hour).

    (“Don”, you are also neither “Don” nor a “Coyote”. Hmm… with that statement, am I calling Don names? ;-) )

  43. Joan: General Beadle was a great, distinctive name for the school! Now when I Google “Dakota State University” I get all sorts of hits from SDSU and NDSU.

  44. mike from iowa


    This is what happens when goons with guns and unupholstered brains perceive a gubmint conspiracy to occupy their state. Be sure to keep an eye on Walmart stores as internment centers.

  45. Hey, Riley, are you saying Aristotle didn’t say what I said he said? Are you saying that an exclusive focus on martial arts at the expense of the humanities and other aspects of civilization is good for society? If you can find the original source handy and can provide a more accurate translation of the ancient Greek, I welcome it.

  46. mike from iowa

    Aristotle sounds like a flaming commie.

  47. “Each of Craig’s examples suggests that gun sellers do indeed have the responsibility my question suggests and that gun buyers perhaps should have to clear more hurdles.”

    Well in truth a licensed dealer does have to ensure there are specific criteria met. They have to fill out a form which is submitted to the ATF, they have to collect ID and verify the identity of the purchaser, and of course they need to ensure they have payment for the firearm. This is actually just as restrictive if not more so than the automobile purchase I referenced, because assuming you went in to buy a car and you were paying cash, the only thing they would do would be to fill out some forms and drive away.

    Gun dealers don’t train purchasers on how to use their product just as car dealers don’t offer driving lessons. That isn’t why they exist, and we shouldn’t expect them to just as we don’t expect hospitals to give out free parental training with every birth. If a dealer wishes to offer such training then great – more power to them, but I don’t see it as an obligation.

    Also to note Cory, at one point if you purchased a handgun from Gary’s Gun Shop in Sioux Falls they would enroll you in one of their training courses for free, but it was an optional program and not required for purchase. I can’t say if they still offer that benefit, but I would agree it is a good idea to at least offer it to purchasers. Should it be mandated? I’d have to argue no – because I don’t feel that is their duty just as it isn’t the duty of Billion Auto to teach me how to drive.

  48. Daniel Buresh

    “Ibuprofen is relatively innocuous, but pharmacists keep the cold medicine behind the counter and limit how much they sell to prevent meth manufacturing. Pharmacists won’t sell me much of their wares unless I present a prescription from a doctor.”

    Do we have the right to drugs? Try buying more than one weapon at once, or within a certain time frame, and you will find out how many hurdles pop up. I’ve had to wait before because a clerk punched in my purchase wrong and I got flagged for purchasing too many weapons in a short period of time. Even if I were to try buying a weapon illegally from a dealer, no gov’t agency is going to follow up and prosecute. They just bother the dealers themselves and try to bust them for something.

    “Car dealers won’t finance our purchases unless we pass a credit check. We can’t use our purchases unless we pass a state test.”

    Is driving now a right? I sure can use my purchase on private property without passing any state test. Same as with a weapon. If I want to take that gun out on public land to hunt, I also have to pass hunter safety to obtain a license.

    “Alcohol sellers can settle for asking my ID. However, don’t bartenders have an obligation to cut off patrons if they appear to be drunk?”

    Do weapons cause people reduced cognitive processing and altered mindsets? Go try buying a gun from a reputable dealer around here. Talk crazy, talk about possibly giving the gun to a friend as a gift, talk about scenarios that may involve using that weapon negatively, talk about moving out of state…..you are going to get chased out of that store so fast it won’t even be funny. When it comes to dealers, they are always under a magnifying glass. If they sell you a weapon and you give that to a felon, the gov’t is going to come after the dealer even if he had no idea about the future exchange. Most reputable dealers will be very clear with you and if they have any bad feelings, they are going to ask you to walk. I’d say they do more controlling of who they sell to than your average bar tender around here.

    “Each of Craig’s examples suggests that gun sellers do indeed have the responsibility my question suggests and that gun buyers perhaps should have to clear more hurdles.”

    Do you need training to vote? to speak? What other rights require training? Not privileges….rights? How many deaths are caused by the misuse of such rights?

    Training is not the issue. We should never ridicule those who look to access such options, nor should we ridicule those who provide such services. Enforcement is. It almost appears the gov’t does such a crappy job with that, that they are pushing to give this perception like enforcing the current laws isn’t possible. Those clowns can’t handle the responsibility now and we expect them to enforce more laws that will merely be a hindrance for those purchasing legally? No thanks. Most gun owners know how to handle their weapons. Criminals will never follow the laws. The relatively few gun accidents that could have been easily avoided due to simple training is minuscule. Newtown and the like would not be avoided if a gun owner had to take a class or pass a check. That is nothing more than wishful thinking. Leave it up to the states. NY may have a better need for required training where SD may not.

  49. Owen, I actually wouldn’t mind mandatory firearms training. I was required to take a hunter safety course before I could hunt at age 12. It was very valuable.

    I think it’d go a long ways to ensuring a “well regulated militia.”

    But we’d have to be pretty careful about it; because of the inherent right, we’d have to ensure we’re not disenfranchising people (just as we have to be careful we’re not disenfranchising voters). So it’d have to be accessible to everyone from a cost standpoint.

    Of course, we could just mandate military service for a year or two. That’d get people competent with firearms, and ensure we think twice before sending folks “over there” to meddle. If we all share the risk of death, I think we’d be a lot more hesitant to go to war.

    I could be wrong.

  50. By the way, Bill Dithmer, you are always a man ahead of your time. Thanks for that reminder of your plan!

  51. Craig, we don’t have to mandate the dealer provide the instruction, but should we mandate instruction before one can go to the dealer?

  52. Daniel asks, “Do weapons cause people reduced cognitive processing and altered mindsets?” Given the tone of some gun-rights advocates, I might suspect correlation, if not causation.

    But notice that Daniel is making my point: he agrees that gun dealers act morally in chasing irresponsible buyers out of their store.

    “Ridicule”? Again, so sensitive, Daniel. Have I really ridiculed Hoffman’s business or his customers? To rephrase an earlier question, is it ridicule for me to contend that the service Hoffman offers an the product he promotes provide less daily utility than many other services and products?

    Voting rights and gun rights—again, I would contend that our right to vote is more valuable to preserving democracy than our right to carry a pistol to shoot bad guys. We stopped Annette Bosworth with ballots, not bullets.

  53. mike from iowa

    You can buy guns at gunshows w/o any hurdles. All kinds of guns. As many as you can pay for. Cash and carry Not all gun dealers have scruples. I’d bet a bunch of them have serious gripes with the fed over regulations.

    Scott Walker loves guns and the NRA vote,but just like the NRA he doesn’t want anyone carrying weapons at his rallies. Guns don’t kill people. What is he and the NRA afraid of???

  54. barry freed

    I read a couple of the man’s papers. Enough to judge his work and dismiss it. He makes claims and assumptions based on findings his employer wants, and his employer is in the business of soliciting donations for their cause and paychecks. The study you cited was of gang members in DC reporting the people who shot them weren’t defending themselves. What else could they say without incriminating themselves? Bad info in, skewed findings out. You are correct, you only mocked Hoffman’s intentions, you didn’t call him names, sorry. I don’t “worship” guns. I don’t even own a gun. I am coming from a point of view gained from reading the Federalist Papers and studying World and US History. A history that shows what always happens when a group or Government has the armed upper hand over the People.

    Current events? Fine, Mike, is it paranoid to be concerned about heavily armed Federal Agents with attack dogs violating the 1st and 4th Amendments of thousands on Deerfield Road this month? Being confronted with an M-16 and snarling dog by someone for not using your turn signal is intimidation. Have you any indignation or smarmy remarks about those LE gun abuses or the back shootings we are seeing on cell phone videos?

    Leslie, there are 300 million guns, at least, in the U.S. If you could magically make them, and all of the guns in the World disappear, it would be wonderful. Technology has given us the 3D printer and one can now print AK’s and AR’s at home, so that dream will never happen. So then what? Some people are dangerous drivers even though they passed the test, should we quit teaching people how to drive? It’s like banning abortion without attempting to eliminate any of the social conditions that cause them. Is sex ed a safety course or is it just encouraging kids to have sex? I was raised around guns and was taught to how to handle and shoot them before I was in grade school, followed by an NRA Hunter Safety Course when I was 11. After the NRA course, and to this day, I can’t bring myself to point my finger like a gun at someone. Logic tells me it isn’t loaded, but they truly drill it into you: know where that barrel is pointed. Kids are smart enough to learn handling skills. Many times, I asked to hold the weapon a young friend just pulled from a closet or drawer. I knew where to point the barrel and how to open it up to make sure it was unloaded, skills an NRA course teaches. Even today, I either get control of a weapon from an ignorant adult who has not had training, or leave the area. Guns are dangerous and that accidentally fired round can never be put back in the chamber. Are you so hateful of guns that you would deny those skills to kids and risk their lives? Locks and Laws, you might say. In the real world, every kid knows the combination or where the key to the gun cabinet is, and where the bullets are hidden. Kids also know where the keys to the car are, but they have been taught how to use them: not, without parental supervision.
    We hear platitudes about “sensible” gun control, but no real solutions or improvements of public safety, only ineffective bans and legislation aimed at contributions.

  55. Daniel Buresh

    “But notice that Daniel is making my point: he agrees that gun dealers act morally in chasing irresponsible buyers out of their store.”

    Requiring such filtering is still going to let the rare nutjob through. The dealers do just fine imo. They are trying to cover their butts more than the average person thinks and they will protect their business by refusing to sell to those they feel are unsavory.

    “Voting rights and gun rights—again, I would contend that our right to vote is more valuable to preserving democracy than our right to carry a pistol to shoot bad guys. We stopped Annette Bosworth with ballots, not bullets.”

    If that were true, you’d be a British wanker. ;)

  56. mike from iowa

    Barry-just make sure you place women and kids in front of your gatherings and the feds won’t shoot. Didn’t the NRA fight congress so terrorists can’t be restricted from buying guns? They also raised billy hell when straw purchases of guns was outlawed.

    If you want to gripe about feds,maybe you should ask yourself why they feel the need to act hostile when so many gun lovers feel they have the right to carry military grade weapons in public. Militias constantly accuse the gubmint of taking their rights and they spread the word they will fight back. There is an overwhelming need for people to talk to each other,not dictate terms as your side is wont to do. Jade Helm is a perfect example of the extremes gun crazies go to to sow dissent against their gubmint.

  57. It is one thing to practice the obvious safe-handling measures for firearms, such as never pointing them at anybody and checking to make sure they are not loaded when not in shooting situations. It is quite another to know how and when to use firearms in combative situations. When there are mass shootings, such as the Ft. Hood shooting in 2009, gun advocates always claim that if there were armed people present, the situation would be quickly resolved in ways to reduce the loss of lives. However, the Ft. Hood shooting demonstrates what can happen when armed people with training enter the scene of a shooting.

    Military police were called to the scene of the shooting and one of them engaged the shooter as he was moving through the post. She fired at him and missed and he fired back hitting her and causing her to drop her weapon. He then kicked the weapon away from her so that she couldn’t engage him further. He was stopped shortly after by civilian police who fired at him and subdued him, and whose fire left him a paraplegic.

    The other side of this is that shootings are an epidemic and prevention, as practiced in many other countries, is a more effective means. Having worked much of my adult life in the justice system, I am aware of how many crimes have been solved through gun registration, where by guns could be traced to their owners. Had a registration notice been sent out when the shooter bought his weapon under a registration system, his command would have been notified and alerted to the fact that he was arming himself. That kind of precaution is no longer. The only thing left to do is what is done in some schools and when boarding a commercial aircraft. Everyone has to be checked for weapons when entering public places that might attract shooters or bombers. We live in a gun culture and will have to pay the price either in deaths or in impositions. Guns and the inability to reason don’t mix.

  58. “Craig, we don’t have to mandate the dealer provide the instruction, but should we mandate instruction before one can go to the dealer?”

    Well I’m somewhat torn on this, because our Constitution says we have a right to bear arms, and anything the government does to infringe that right seems like an obstacle meant to limit our protected freedoms.

    On one hand, some mandated training or a license program of some type makes sense. Surely we want people to be safe, and surely we want to limit the number of accidents that occur due to ignorance with how weapons operate.

    On the other hand, we don’t require someone to attend a certification course before they are allowed to express themselves on government property (freedom of speech) nor do we require them to attend a conflict management course before expressing their theological viewpoints (freedom of religion). Is there any other right protected under the Constitution which requires a permit or the citizen to take additional steps in order to qualify for that right? I dare say not.

    I know firearms are a controversial subject, but I find it odd that if the same limitations were placed upon our freedom of speech, many of the same people calling for more gun regulation would be (pardon the pun) very much up in arms.

  59. Deb Geelsdottir

    2 things:

    1. “if you purchased a handgun from Gary’s Gun Shop in Sioux Falls they would enroll you in one of their training courses for free, but it was an optional program” Great. Let’s mandate that every gun seller must provide extensive training and every buyer must pass the training.

    2. Nope, individuals do not have the right to have guns. Yes, SCOTUS says they do so that’s the law of the land, and I think that interpretation is wrong.

  60. Craig, on training to exercise certain rights: the United States is not experiencing an epidemic of deadly mass tongue-lashings. Using guns incorrectly generally does more damage than using words incorrectly.

    Of course, South Dakota does require word training in the form of requiring every child to attend school until age 18. We recognize that one cannot really exercise a right unless one is educated. Could we argue that the Second Amendment was based on the assumption that every musket-bearer would have been schooled by one’s parents in the regular use and maintenance of arms?

  61. Deb, is our disagreement with the Supreme Court on the right to have guns any different from our conservative friends’ disagreement with the Supreme Court on the right to marry a person of the same sex?

  62. I think anytime you put barriers and limitations upon a Constitutionally protected freedom you are asking for trouble. I may agree that we as a society would be better off if all gun owners were well trained, yet I cannot say that placing limitations on the Second Amendment would be worth it because I know I would feel the same way if there was legislation to limit the freedoms protected under the 1st Amendment.

    I may not agree with everyone someone says, but I will defend their right to say it just as I may not agree with how easy it is for someone to obtain a legal firearm yet I’ll defend their right to own one.

    @ Deb – as Cory indicated your argument is no different than those who refuse to acknowledge the recent ruling allowing homosexual marriage. You’re entitled to your opinion, but you aren’t entitled to your own version of the law. As it stands, the SCOTUS has ruled (DC vs. Heller) the individual right to bear arms. Interestingly enough, that ruling was 5-4, which just so happens to also be the decision in Obergefell v. Hodges.

    So if someone refuses to accept a decision by the SCOTUS does it really matter what decision that may be?

  63. Deb Geelsdottir

    Craig said, “You’re entitled to your opinion, but you aren’t entitled to your own version of the law.”

    Exactly. Notice I said 2 things:
    1. It is the law of the land because SCOTUS said so.
    2. I disagree.

    Nowhere did I say that means I’m going to ignore it. Cory, the same is true of the marriage equality ruling. People are free to disagree. They are no more free to ignore the marriage ruling than I am free to ignore the gun ruling.

  64. who needs a gun to make a living? the privilege to drive, high school driver’s ed-very good things. who can make a living without driving?

    i would argue people not needing to carry weapons and not fearing government, see sensible regulation of the generally unnecessary “right” to shoot someone (like george zimmerman exercised), as vital to staying alive in this society. staying alive is not a privilege. your unnecessary exercise of your right to carry/conceal in public places endangers me.

    where is hate involved? if calling you “barry carry” is your issue, stop saying stupid things about sensible gun regulation. don’t carry a gun into mcdonalds. if you get pissed at me in mcdonalds for any reason, don’t run out to your car for a weapon.

    grade school gun ed-is that where you also get a dose of texas’ version of causes of the civil war? climate change? stand your ground?

    indoctrination into gun culture in grade school is unnecessary and just stupid. 360,000,000 people not indoctrinated in how to use a gun in case they have to shoot someone will indeed make for a wonderful society without the mortality statistics ann cites above.

    we can keep making things worse or we can be smarter than NRA ect. i pay people to carry a gun everyday to protect us from the outliers. they are our protectors: police and soldiers. we don’t need 360,000,000 auto mechanics, fer christ sake. i believe these threads are dangerous to participate in because of the “sensitivity” ect cory references. i don’t trust you guys. the way you talk, you eliminate the value of NRA training.

  65. mike from iowa

    Guns when used as intended,kill. Gay marriage,otoh,doesn’t.

  66. Like Deb, I recognize we must work within the framework of the Constitution. The framers wrote the Second Amendment into the Bill of Rights, and the Supreme Court found that amendment includes the right to have handguns and loaded long guns in one’s home for self-defense. We thus recognize that we have to amend the Constitution to try outlawing such things.

    Notice that nowhere in my original post did I advocate legislative action to restrict access to guns. I’m not advocating more legislative gun control; I’m challenging the gun culture.

    The Constitution has no bearing on the main argument of my original post: that Hoffman is selling a service and promoting use of a product that offers little daily utility… or, as Leslie says above, guns are mostly a waste of time. Gun training and shooting practice can be an entertaining diversion, and there is nothing wrong with knowing how to handle firearms. However, the folks who think that spending money on guns and gun training will improve their personal safety could probably make a greater practical difference in their lives by spending that money on other things (like supporting a tax increase to pay teachers more or fund universal preschool, which would strengthen our education system and reduce crime).

    The Second Amendment as interpreted in DC v. Heller says we can have loaded guns in our houses. The Second Amendment does not say that we should.

  67. Leslie, I understand your nervousness about that gun-owner “sensitivity.” Arguing with a skittish person with a gun is probably a bad idea. But since I’m not going to shoot that person, I need to talk that person down from her John Wayne fantasies.

  68. mike from iowa

    Didn’t some college age kids attempt to talk to armed(and scared-#$$) trigger happy National Gaurd troops at Kent State back around 1970? How did that turn out for the peaceniks?

    Tin soldiers and Nixon coming,
    We’re finally on our own.
    This summer I hear the drumming,
    Four dead in Ohio.

  69. David Newquist

    Selling a person a gun and then charging them to teach them how to use it is like infesting someone with an infectious bacteria and then offering them to treat it for a price.

  70. mike from iowa

    Mr Newquist-I just read your EB-5 post from June. Good article. Very informative.

  71. barry freed

    Where are the citations for these emotional claims of “epidemic”? Shootings are not wide spread. If there is indeed an epidemic, it appears it is an epidemic of videos showing Law Enforcement shooting unarmed civilians, mostly of color, with hardly ever a charge or conviction.

    No one has offered one piece of what they call: “sensible Legislation”. Of course, any proposed Laws must be accompanied with an explanation of how they will further reduce the decades long, declining gun crime rates* and shootings in the U.S.

    * http://www.pewsocialtrends.org/2013/05/07/gun-homicide-rate-down-49-since-1993-peak-public-unaware/



  72. Barry, on shootings, are we allowed ot use “epidemic” in relative terms—i.e., far more mass shootings happen here than in other countries? Granted, the overall risk of dying by firearms assault is far less than that of dying from heart disease. However…

    #10: Assault by firearm
    Odds of dying: 1 in 300
    America is the gun violence capital of the world. According to FBI crime statistics, there were 9,146 murders by firearm in 2009. Like death by accidental gun discharge, death rates for assault by firearm in the U.S. are also disproportionate to similar countries. It has the highest rate of firearm deaths among 25 high-income nations and more disturbingly, the overall firearm-related death rate among U.S. children under age 15 is 12 times higher than the death rates of these 25 high-income nations combined.

    [Chris Jagger, “The 25 Most Common Causes of Death,” MedHelp.org, downloaded 2015.07.18]

  73. mike from iowa

    George Hitler Weasel Bush banned assault weapons in 1989. Bill “Rhodes Scholar” Clinton passed and signed the Brady Bill and the 1994 Federal Assault weapons ban Meanwhile,violence peaked in 1993 and declined all through Clinton’s time as Potus with gun controls in place. Coincidence? I doubt it. When dumbass dubya was appointed Potus,crime rates leveled off until Dems regained control of Congress. Then it started back down again.

  74. Bill Dithmer

    MFI just for youbecause Saturday is a great day for CS&N.http://open.spotify.com/track/4oC11US2tUMb9WaxoniIiR

    The Blindman

  75. mike from iowa

    Muchas gracias,Blindman.

  76. barry freed

    Cory, you can redefine epidemic to mean whatever suits your needs.

    The vitriol, insults, and lack of common courtesy found in this thread are proof that few here have anything to offer on this subject except hate, and that has value only to the hater. Proof indeed, that some people are wise not to arm themselves. Their choice, as concealed carry by people who have control of their emotions, makes us all safer.

    The 2nd Amendment: an imperfect Right in an imperfect World.

  77. mike from iowa

    Chicago seems to be the murder capitol of America,but it has less to with guns as the fact it is Obama country.

  78. mike from iowa

    Shootings are not wide spread? People in America are shot every day all over America,sometimes more than one per day. How do you define wide spread,Barry?

  79. I don’t see anything wrong with this business enterprise. Actually I would be interested in taking classes like this. It looks like it would compliment my military and self defense training.

  80. bearcreekbat

    This is an interesting thread. All the comments on both sides of the issue seem to overlook a very basic fact. The 2nd amendment expressly states (and has been construed to mean) that we have the right to “keep” and “bear” arms, but it does not address the sale or manufacture of arms.

    On its face, this indicates that the manufacture and sale of guns is not a protected 2nd Amendment right and may be outlawed entirely without running afoul of the 2nd Amendment. If the 2nd amendment is no bar to prohibition, it certainly is no bar to the severe regulation and restriction of anyone that desires to sell a gun.

    Similarly, the 2nd Amendment says nothing about ammunition. It does not grant anyone a right to keep and possess ammo, let alone sell it. At a minimum, the plain language of the 2nd Amendment cannot bar government prohibition or regulation of ammo sales.

    This is not to argue that the government should prohibit the sales of guns or ammo, rather, it is simply to point out that the 2nd Amendment on its face does not limit governmental regulation in these areas.

  81. bearcreekbat

    It looks like there is a split in the circuits on whether the 2nd Amendment protects the seller’s rights. The 4th Circuit says “No’ while the 7th Circuit says “Yes.”


    Heller didn’t resolve this question, but language from Heller can be read either way. The Harvard article argues that Heller language means sellers are protected by the 2nd Amendment. Heller, however, can be read to support the 4th Circuit position. Heller stated that the right to keep and bear arms is subject to various regulations, such as “laws imposing conditions and qualifications on the commercial sale of arms.”