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Greenfield Backs Capitol Concealed Carry Bill with 1975 Capitol Knife Incident

In gun news, while deferring action on House Bill 1206, the controversial concealed-weapons-on-campus bill, the South Dakota House rejected House Bill 1183, which would have allowed concealed weapons in the State Capitol.

During floor debate on HB 1183, Rep. Lana Greenfield (R-2/Doland) told a startling story that she said crystallized her feelings on guns and this bill. She said that, back in the 1970s, when she had taken a new teaching job, a student told her that, during a family visit to the Capitol one summer Sunday, he and his family had been taken captive by a man with a knife. She said a former Capitol employee later told her he remembered that incident.

It appears Rep. Greenfield was referring to this 1975 incident:

On October 26, 1975, the Glenn Arneson family of Hayti, South Dakota, visited the State Capitol at Pierre. While touring the Capitol Building, Mr. and Mrs. Arneson and their youngest child were confronted in an open hallway on the fourth floor by petitioner [Romeo Tony Eaglehorse] and another man, Robert Stein. After asking the Arnesons if there were any other people in the building, petitioner pulled a knife and demanded money from them. Mr. Arneson complied, giving him $20.00. Petitioner then demanded that the Arnesons gather the rest of their family, including two other children who had run ahead, and forced them at knife point to a secluded room on fourth floor, blocking the only exit from that room. Petitioner again demanded money, ordering the Arnesons to place all their money on a table. Petitioner then proceeded to torment the members of the family, starting with the youngest child, an eight-year-old girl. He picked her up by the hair, held the knife to her throat, and demanded that she give him her money. After demanding photos of the family, petitioner threatened to kill them if they ever informed the authorities of what had happened. Petitioner continued to torment the family by holding the knife to Mr. Arneson's *330 neck and asking the rest of the family if they would like to watch him die. Petitioner told the Arnesons that he, petitioner, was a killer, and forced the parents to drink vodka from a bottle with him. He also threatened to cut the eight-year-old girl's eyes out with his knife. After leaving for a few minutes, petitioner returned and grabbed Mrs. Arneson. At this time Mr. Arneson was able to strike petitioner with the vodka bottle, allowing the family to run to safety. All told, the Arnesons were held in the room at knife point for from forty-five minutes to an hour after Mr. Arneson first gave petitioner the $20.00 in the hallway [Eaglehorse v. South Dakota, 1979].

Now Rep. Greenfield didn't connect the dots for us. She didn't explain how this incident of crime 40 years ago justifies allowing us to walk around our Temple of Democracy and Civilization with firearms tucked in our britches. The point of her anecdote seemed to be simply to arouse fear.

One violent crime forty years ago. Hmmm... sounds to me as if the Capitol Building is one of the safest places a person could be.

But let's look at the incident Rep. Greenfield cited in the context of the bill she was advocating. The Arnesons were on a family visit. They likely did not anticipate trouble. There is no indication that Mr. Arneson or his wife held concealed weapons permits or had said on their way into the building, "There might be danger here, but the law says we have to leave our guns in the car."

Had HB 1183 been in effect, would the Arnesons have been armed? Had they been concealedly armed (which is what HB 1183 envisions), would Eaglehorse not have pulled that knife? When Eaglehorse pulled the knife, would Mr. or Mrs. Arneson have been able to execute a quick draw before Eaglehorse could do harm?

And would the presence of a gun have produced any different result from what really happened: Mr. Arneson grabs the vodka bottle, whacks the bad guy, and gets his family out to safety. No one but the bad guy is hurt, and the authorities arrest Eaglehorse and Stein, without shooting anyone.

Your story is plenty scary, Rep. Greenfield, but you failed to explain how it logically defends the policy position you advocated. Fortunately, this time, faulty logic and faulty gun policy did not prevail in the Legislature.


  1. Tim 2015.02.19

    Based on that story Casino workers in Deadwood should be able to carry concealed weapons because of the high murder rate in the 1870's.

  2. Greg 2015.02.19

    Neither of the Greenfields get it, guns on campus or the state capitol will not make them safer places than they are now. They have put more effort in having a concealed weapons on campus than funding education. I would hope after this years performance of the Greenfield's that their district would not send them back to Pierre after the next election.

  3. leslie 2015.02.19

    things were pretty hot with race relations from 1973-76, murder rate was highest in the country, 170:100,000; means and banks prosecutions dismissed 1974-75. wiki

  4. Randall 2015.02.19

    Wouldn't HB1183 allowed Eaglehorse to legally have had a gun, rather than a knife?

    How would that make it any less dangerous or terrifying?

  5. Jenny 2015.02.19

    I wouldn't want, and would be very nervous, to have an ammosexual like Brock Greenfield try to play Clint Eastwood in a crime situation. There are many reasons why, first of all, obese ammos like him would probably cause more harm than good by accidentally shooting innocent bystanders. Gee, overweight ammos, get a grip on your weight. Not being physically fit works against you in that moment of crime you're so guaranteed is going to happen. The police could easily mistake the good guy as the bad guy when coming into the situation. We've all explained the reasons why this is a bad, bad idea but the ammos just don't get it. In a way, like Bill Maher says, ammos are actually helping the stricter gun control advocates by really showing their nutiness and scaring the heck out of innocent people. There's not much that's scarier than a redneck mad ammo and it's good that restaurants and other public places are placing gun ban signs on their business doors.

  6. Disgusted Dakotan 2015.02.19

    This is why Democrats continue to lose races in SD. You have documented proof that moderate "Republicans" are hypocrites, but Liberals are content to bask in their win on gun control instead of going for the political win. By failing to capitalize on the political aspects of this, Democrats allow these moderates their cake and eating it too. Come election time they will beat their chests and claim they are different than these Democrats on 2nd Amendment issues.

    The real news of this story, for the Democrats, is the hypocrisy of the "Republicans" that gut Democratic candidates on this issue during elections and then vote with them on gun control when the public spotlight is gone.

  7. bearcreekbat 2015.02.19

    Jenny, your comment "There's not much that's scarier than a redneck mad ammo" brings to mind then Attorney general Bill Janklow running through the State Capitol with a machine gun back in 1976.

  8. mike from iowa 2015.02.19

    DD-it is becoming more and more apparent that your party does not/cannot read stories and think for themselves. Independent thinkers don't need to be told-or not told-wingnuts are fools. They can see that for themselves.

  9. leslie 2015.02.19

    dd-if you are a dem as i think i recall you claiming, could you meet with your county party, bring them up to speed on your theory to win, have them contact Penn Dems, andwe will get the state party moving on it and this could help us out?

  10. Jenny 2015.02.19

    I can see Will Bill running around the State Capital with a gun, but what was he mad for that time?

  11. Jenny 2015.02.19

    I meant 'Wild' Bill

  12. Disgusted Dakotan 2015.02.19

    @MFI The fools are those who sit idly by clucking their tongues in self-amusement as political capital falls through the cracks even as the last vestiges of their party's influence accompany it.

  13. Disgusted Dakotan 2015.02.19

    @Leslie I admire and respect the honesty and candor of Democrats like Cory, Scott Parsley, Troy Heinert, etc., even while disagreeing with them on most of the issues. With such insight comes the understanding they are not my political enemies, as there is no dishonor in the honorable, honest, discussion and debate of ideas.

  14. bearcreekbat 2015.02.19

    Jenny, according to the book "A Legacy of Innovation: Governors and Public Policy," pp 154-55, after Janklow was elected AG in 1974, he "often boasted that he slept with an M-16 assault rifle beside his bed. . . ." Then in 1976, "he was working at home when he heard that a man had taken hostages at the state capitol where several of his secretaries worked. He grabbed a machine gun and headed over. But when he was told that the hostages were not his employees he backed off and let the police handle it."

  15. leslie 2015.02.19

    so dd, you would be willing to, though not a democrat; or already have, an open discussion of your theories that would allow democrats to take over republican votes which you post here, with Cory and/or Scott or Heinhart? sounds like a plan. i will get the west river dems and SDP talking about your ideas.

  16. Jenny 2015.02.19

    That's a joke, Leslie. DD is republican and makes sure to come here everyday to remind us that Dems are the losing party in SD. It's kind of like it makes him feel good to say that or something.

  17. 96Tears 2015.02.19

    Nov. 12, 1975 PIERRE, S.D. (AP) Atty. Gen. William Janklow has defended his recent armed foray into the state Capitol.

    Janklow has come under fire' from other South Dakota officials for his conduct following an October incident in which a Hayti, S.D., family was held hostage in the Capitol. The first-term attorney general assisted in the search for suspects in the case, carrying an automatic rifle as he checked Capitol corridors and rooms.

    "When I was notified of the Capitol incident, I was only told that there might be a person with a weapon somewhere in the building," he said. "I wasn't about to go up there and just stand around in nothing but a T-shirt."

  18. bearcreekbat 2015.02.19

    96 - Thanks for finding that article that sheds a bit more light on Janklow's situation. I wonder if that hostage situation is the same one mentioned by Rep. Greenfield? And can you imagine what might have happened to the hostages if Janklow let loose a round of automatic fire where they were being held?

  19. 96Tears 2015.02.19

    bearcreekbat, since the Greenfields are from Hamlin County, it's most likely this is the event Lana G. was referring to. And, yes, if BJ let off a blast from an automatic rifle, there's little doubt the incident could have ended differently. One could make an argument that since he was in the U.S. Marines, he'd have better control. One could also make the argument since he was forced into the Marines because he shot the water tower in Flandreau (among other wilder, violent and illegal acts) his tendency would have been shoot first, aim later.

  20. 96Tears 2015.02.19

    To his credit, however, I would say Janklow as AG had a far greater passion and credibility for enforcing laws objectively than the present lawbook jockey in office has demonstrated.

  21. leslie 2015.02.19

    its not like i haven't wasted time in good faith with evasive republicans before.

  22. Disgusted Dakotan 2015.02.19

    @ Jenny You confuse my willingness to engage and discuss because of confidence in my position on the issues, with partisanship.

    @Leslie SD Democrats have been defeated by being saddled with President Obama's policy's hung around their necks the last several elections. They have allowed "Republicans" who supported those policies to have their cake and eat it too. They allowed them to claim to oppose those policies as conservatives, even though they supported them with their votes on the issues. The Democrats should be capitalizing on issues like this. The one thing voters from both parties respect is honesty and the thing they both despise is hypocrisy. On votes like this? The Democrats should come out with press releases thanking these moderate "Republicans" for following and voting with Democratic leadership on "responsible" gun control. It highlights Democratic leadership on an issue they are honestly outspoken on, and highlights their opponents hypocrisy on an issue they are outspoken on. Voters will respect Democrats honesty on an issue all are aware Democrats stand already and it will undercut the moderate "Republicans" support from the most active sect of the GOP that helps them get elected.

  23. larry kurtz 2015.02.19

    Stace Nelson should primary Kristi after she jettisoned the T wing of the earth hater party to pay off her swine donors by begging for Lewis and Clark water at taxpayer expense. Stace should be ashamed for ignoring her treason.

  24. larry kurtz 2015.02.19

    Btw: Greenfield's broken body is just another example of obesity-caused medical interventions. Stace should get his own blood pressure checked.

  25. larry kurtz 2015.02.19

    PS: if a woman can shoot herself to death with a boob gun Greenfield could have slipped and discharged his own weapon with lethal results. Imagine historically icy conditions in Pierre where armed residents could just end discussion of a quixotic posse comitatus reign in the Statehouse.

  26. Owen 2015.02.19

    I hope the people in this state vote Republican just because of the 2nd amendment. I think most people are willing to have some common sense gun control and hopefully are horrified at the stupid laws that are being brought to the legislature.

    "SD Democrats have been defeated by being saddled with President Obama's policy's hung around their necks the last several elections."

    I don't believe that either. There is some truth to it but the state is out of step with the rest of the country. Proof? The President won twice.
    I bet you'd have a hard time telling the 21,000 + folks in South Dakota that now have health insurance.

  27. Disgusted Dakotan 2015.02.19

    @Owen You are still looking at politics two-dimensionally. You allow these "Republican" politicians to attack your Democratic candidates as being anti-2nd Amendment in order to win races against them and then you fumble major political opportunities and turn a blind eye when they hypocriticaly vote against 2nd Amendment bills.

  28. Deb Geelsdottir 2015.02.19

    I read about the hostage situation in the capital and my heart goes out to that family. That must have been terrifying! Those children and their parents must have carried that terror with them for a long time. It makes me shudder.

    The casual disregard for their emotional well-being among Madizens who have commented thus far also makes me shudder. If I had been part of that family I'd seriously consider carrying a weapon too.

    All that being said, I continue to strongly feel that more weapons does not mean more safety. A much more effective response to that incident is metal detectors, bag inspections and more security in the building.

  29. grudznick 2015.02.19

    Fat people are more easily shot. I'm just sayin...

  30. larry kurtz 2015.02.19

    Yeah, Owen: you should look at politics through the sights rather than into the barrel.

  31. Roger Cornelius 2015.02.19

    As I understand it, this bill was defeated today, as well as the HB1206 the student CCW bill.
    Glad to see some legislators acting and voting responsibly.

  32. mike from iowa 2015.02.19

    We can also absorb more lead and our vitals are protected better than skinny wimps. When the lead starts flying,Grudz,do you shelter behind gravy taters or big fat mfi? Sorry,that was the wrong way to state that knowing your affinity for gravy taters.

  33. grudznick 2015.02.19

    Mr. Mike, I figured your lead absorption capability was due to living in Iowa. I, for one, tend to avoid places where people are shooting randomly at fine law abiding citizens such as myself. Besides, anybody who knows anything about ballistics or gravy knows that if you were being shot at and tried to hide behind even a full barrel of gravy you are insaner than most. Gunny sacks of raw taters is where it's at.

  34. mike from iowa 2015.02.19

    Do you have gunnysacks full of raw taters to hide behind? I have about half a sack left from last years garden and between you and me they aint gonna stop near as much lead as me. Besides,they are seed taters for April planting. Don't want to have the eyes shot out of them.

  35. grudznick 2015.02.19

    Mr. Mike. No, I have no gunnysacks full of taters. They are all gone now.

  36. mike from iowa 2015.02.19

    Grudz,since only half the lege in iowa is controlled by wingnuts,liberals have been protecting iowans from absorbing lead in paint and water supplies etc. So we can rilly hold more lead than any citizens in wingnut led states. Besides that,our goobernor Terry Braindead rilly looks like Hitler in caricature form.

  37. Deb Geelsdottir 2015.02.19

    "Terry Braindead"


    Excellent Mike.

  38. Disgusted Dakotan 2015.02.19

    I am curious how Democrats feel when they see such votes. These Republicans defeated Democratic candidates by claiming to be different then them on such things as 2nd Amendment issues and then they follow Democrats' lead on the issue. When it comes election time again, they will repeat their same claims on 2nd Amendment and defeat their Democratic opponents.

  39. Jim 2015.02.20

    Mr. Gudnick, do you walk the back forth with a pistol? Cause Brock and Lana and I do.

  40. mike from iowa 2015.02.20

    Deb G-here is one(actually several) reasons I don't like Goob Braindead and never have. It is long and tedious read and smacks of wingnut privilege to shelter their own at the expense of others.

    The "elderly couple" that was killed were actually referred to as the elderly couple. I never knew they weren't that old until I found this article.

  41. mike from iowa 2015.02.20

    DD-here is part of a critique of Jon Stewart by some wingnut named Kyle Smith from the NY Post. Please explain to this gentleman how he has his complaints all wrong about college students and is driving them away from voting for wingnuts. Or doesn't it work that way?

    College students, of course, are both little acquainted with realities of adult existence and walled off from conservative views, so they’re the perfect audience for Stewart’s shtick, which depends on assumptions that are as unquestioned as they are false.

  42. caheidelberger Post author | 2015.02.20

    Jenny, don't forget that Senator Greenfield broke his shootin' arm in that slip on the ice last week, so he'll be an even worse shot for the rest of the session. Maybe the concealed weapons permit should include a "disabled" list: if the doctor says you're not healthy enough to shoot, you have to leave your pistol at home.

  43. caheidelberger Post author | 2015.02.20

    Mike—a bra holster? Do they also make underpants holsters for men? The idea that we would market a holster that requires women to rip open their blouses seems a product of bad tactical thinking and male shooting-range instructor fantasies ("Hey, honey, I need to check out your equipment. Why don't you practice that quick draw for me a few times?")

  44. Chris S. 2015.02.20

    Regarding the frequent oh-so-sorrowful posts here by a certain commentator about "why SD Dems lose," and the "helpful" suggestions to correct that:

    Concern Troll is very concerned.

  45. caheidelberger Post author | 2015.02.20

    DD, how does my opposition to allowing concealed weapons in the Capitol lose Democrats elections when the bill itself gets killed by the majority in the House? It seems that if I campaigned on keeping guns out of the Capitol, campuses, and courthouses, and if citizens paid attention and voted on that issue, I'd win.

  46. caheidelberger Post author | 2015.02.20

    But remember, DD, it's Republicans seeking NRA's holy stamp of approval, not us Democrats, who make guns the center of our campaigns. I wouldn't center a campaign on guns because I know the Second Amendment has little relevance to the daily economic, intellectual, and spiritual well-being of the vast majority of South Dakotans.

  47. Jenny 2015.02.20

    I never knew there was such a thing as bra holsters - strange.

  48. Disgusted Dakotan 2015.02.20

    @CAH Examine how this issue is being used against Democrats. It is being used as a double edged sword. Democrats who vote against gun rights get bad NRA grades which is used to incite both Democrats and Republicans against them via deceptive NRA gradings. The "Republicans" who vote against gun bills mitigate their votes with rhetoric and are given top cover. Democrats should be hugging their fellow gun control accomplices close and letting South Dakotans know they led on this issue. It does them know harm from the sect that opposes them on gun control to begin with, BUT it loses these "Republican" hypocrites support. Democrats in the past have happily allowed these "Republicans" to have their cake and eat it too, letting these "Republicans" to get good NRA grades with their rhetoric, and not highlight them for voting with Democrats on gun control bills. Democrats need to be dully on the offensive by pointing out to the public they led on the issue and o defense by pointing out all the "Republicans" that joined them in opposition to these gun bills. Think about it. The real reason why the moderate "Republicans" have gone to war with their conservative base in the past was over report cards that outed their establishment moderates.

  49. larry kurtz 2015.02.20

    Stace Nelson should primary Kristi Noem since she has abandoned GOP principles by embracing federal dollars to pay off her campaign donors.

  50. larry kurtz 2015.02.20

    That earth haters like Greenfield and Stace use guns as a wedge issue to raise money is hardly a surprise.

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