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More Guns Make Sioux Falls More Dangerous, Says Police Chief

In no surprise to anyone who reads social science, more people carrying guns are not making Sioux Falls safer. Sioux Falls Police Chief Jon Thum says more heat-packing is bringing more danger, for civilians and the blue:

“Over the past several years, we’ve just noticed the frequency of us coming into contact with firearms has gone up substantially,” Thum said. “When I first started as a patrol officer, you’d see them here or there. A lot of times may be under a car seat or concealed somewhere. And now we’re just seeing more and more on their person.”

He says the city is also getting more reports of gunshots, and that’s not all that’s changed.

“Really a more confrontational style towards law enforcement that a lot of people have, and what you see is just an alarming trend where people, again, proximity or possession of a weapon, more willingness to use it, getting in conflict with law enforcement and then deciding that that’s a step that they want to take,” Thum said [Dan Santella, “Sioux Falls Police Chief Shares Thoughts on Shootings, Guns, Messaging, Entertainment,” KELO-TV, 2022.07.15].

Chief Thum suggests part of the solution to increasing gun violence lies in deprogramming the culture that glorifies gunplay:

“I think it’s up for young people and for people just to say in general, if you’re going to be associated with guns, if you see this as something that’s an avenue then I’m not going to be involved in that, right, and I’m going to maybe call it out as I see it,” Thum said.

And make sure kids understand the real-life consequences.

“I think many times people watch movies, and they watch TV, and they think like this is just a casual event, right, when an officer has to discharge their weapon in the line of duty. It is not a casual event,” Thum said. “It is not movies, it is not TV, like there’s a real impact, right. There’s a real impact and again, I think people sometimes lose sight of that” [Santella, 2022.07.15].

Chief Thum needs to go further. He needs to say that carrying guns everywhere is a problem, not a solution. He needs to say that, just like every civilian, police themselves can do most of their work without even carrying again, let alone using a gun. He needs to say that, for civilians and police, carrying a gun does not make anyone safer.

Of course, a guy who wears a gun to work telling us not to carry guns is perhaps not the best messenger to help deprogram a gun-crazy culture. We need everybody to stop idolizing guns… or we just need to put our money where our mouth is and launch an Australia-style gun buyback program. After Australia’s gun buyback, gun suicide dropped 57% and gun homicide dropped 42%.

Take guns off the streets, off people, and fewer civilians and cops will die by bullet. Plus, a gun buyback would allow more Sioux Fallsians to buy luxury sneakers.


  1. Scott 2022-07-17 12:17

    But muh 2nd Amendment!

  2. Richard Schriever 2022-07-17 12:44

    Scott – So read and abide by the WHOLE thing. Join a militia – an official, well-regulated one, whose JOB is protecting the state against its enemies.

  3. Eve Fisher 2022-07-17 17:11

    Last month I did an Alternatives to Violence Project workshop at the pen. This was an actual conversation (f-words deleted):
    “Meth is everywhere,” one guy told me. “You can’t go to a party where someone isn’t loaded with meth. You can’t hang out with your work buds without someone offering it to you.”
    “And they’re all crazy,” another guy said.
    “And they’ve all got guns. Everybody’s got a gun.”
    “Yeah, this one guy, he was tweaking for 24 straight, and he finally crashed, right. Right on the living room floor. And then when he woke up, he woke up just freaked, totally paranoid, and started shooting everyone in the house.”
    “Yeah, these days they’ll kill you. They’ll shoot you and don’t know why they’re doing it. They’ll shoot you first and then figure it out.”
    “Somebody’s gotta do something about meth, man.”
    “Yeah, you’re a hell of a lot safer here than out there.”
    I told them I already knew that.

  4. John Dale 2022-07-17 17:59

    Once we handle these annoying legal gun carriers, we can finally move on to those ultra dangerous martial artists.

    Kung Fu? I don’t think so.

    Taekwondo? Not in our safe community!

    Are you strong enough to hurt someone by hugging them too hard? TO JAIL!

  5. Bob Newland 2022-07-17 18:45

    Yeah, John. I remember the time that guy broke 34 third-graders’ necks in four minutes with karate chops.

  6. P. Aitch 2022-07-17 19:31

    A Denver city councilmember who supports defunding police weighs new success of replacing cops with mental health teams. Six months in, the team has responded to almost 750 calls, without one arrest.
    That six-month experiment has now been dubbed a success, and city leaders are poised to expand it in a big way with an infusion of tax money. Some advocates say spending on police alternatives needs to include a reduction in police funding overall.

  7. Mark Anderson 2022-07-17 19:43

    You know John Dale, the more guns, the more deaths. Wanna bet?

  8. larry kurtz 2022-07-17 21:17

    American civilians represent the largest army in human history with over a trillion rounds of ammunition. That amount of lead must be worth the risk of poisoned watersheds as the benefit for our protection against the prairie dog horde.

  9. All Mammal 2022-07-18 03:04

    Reduce the sale of firearms to licensed women only. I think Samuel Colt himself would agree. That would change the world for the better for once and that whole exception for rape part of the abortion ban would be like so what? F you Alito, you can have my uterus if you can get passed ol Steely Dan!

  10. John 2022-07-18 18:39

    Here’s an idea. Have a liberal billionaire hand out guns to every18 and over Indian and Hispanic in South Dakota.

    Here’s another idea. Every single person a game warden accosts is armed, even the fishers have filet knives. Street cops could spend a little time with the game wardens learning how approach armed citizens.

    Here’s another idea. Since “we the people” are the government . . . then “we the people” ought be in a well regulated militia to possess and carry arms.

  11. leslie 2022-07-18 19:19

    “American civilians represent the largest army in human history with over a trillion rounds of ammunition!”

    Good campaign slogan Larry! Let’s take back NRA/GOP’s corrupt coffers to buy-back handguns, assault rifles, militarized weapons of war (tanks, RPGs etc), excess magazines, and ammunition, especially slugs designed to maim humans, with detailed record keeping to enforce abuse and restocking by civilians.

    If yah wannah play w/ military tools, you must join the well disciplined military, in good faith, serve and train, and meet mental/emotional requirements for the job, and for afterwards.


  12. larry kurtz 2022-07-18 19:46

    I’ll be here all week so please leave a tip for the promoter.

  13. larry kurtz 2022-07-18 20:27

    American lawns are our largest agricultural endeavor. Hooray America.

  14. Arlo Blundt 2022-07-18 22:32

    Larry –visited with the local constable the other day who said he knows of several locals with automatic weapons and military grade light and heavy machine guns, BARs, etc. legal and illegal. He said that typically these guys had 200,000 rounds of ammo stashed away on their property and incendiary devices. According to the constable, an older fella with plenty of experience, he doesn’t take domestic violence calls but refers to the county sheriff and “mans the perimeter.” Don’t blame him.

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