By Stephan Reed

Since the age of 10, Hofacker worked with guns. His grandfather was a gunsmith and he eventually picked up the trade of repairing firearms. He later joined the Fostoria police force in 1988 until he retired in 2005.

Hofacker and his business partner, Steve Doe, have owned and operated their gun store in Fostoria since August of 2010 and look to expand their business, using their own space and the Internet ( Besides selling guns, they teach concealed weapon classes, book international hunts, create their own ammunition by hand and operate a target range. Neither man takes gun control advocates seriously.

Hofacker and Doe offer a list of services to their patrons. Photo taken from the company's business card.

“We bump into people periodically that are so tremendously anti-gun and anti-hunting that they make negative comments to us,” Hofacker said. “The people who do that sort of thing are uninformed and uneducated. A lot of the people will see things our way after talking to them for a bit. Animal rights activists and gun control lobbyists, or freaks if you will, they don’t look at the big picture.”

In 1989, while working as a police officer, Hofacker responded to a domestic violence call. When he arrived, him and his partner found a man, under the influence of PCP and alcohol, striking his brother in the body with a hatchet. The suspect proceeded to chase the two officers while wielding the hatchet. In an effort to save his life, Hofacker discharged three bullets into the chest of the suspect. At the end of the day, all the men involved were alive and the suspect was in custody.

“We run into people who say, ‘I don’t think you should own a gun,’ and they have never been victimized,” Hofacker said. “They are so far removed from the fact that we have guns in the first place is for hunting and self-protection, self-protection more commonly nowadays.”

The gun store is home to a variety of prize animals Hofacker and Doe killed during hunts in the United States, Canada and South Africa. Photo by Stephan Reed.

In early 2010, while enjoying a beer with his best friend after a hunt in Nevada, Hofacker presented the idea of the gun store in Fostoria. Immediately, Doe complied and was willing to follow through with the plan. Hofacker’s wife, Michelle, was on board as well, motivating him by saying “If you don’t do this now, then you never will.”

Hofacker and his partner continue to run the gun shop, despite gun control controversy.

The Brady Campaign, a nationwide gun control organization, works to apply stricter gun laws to the country in an effort to cut back on gun violence. According to statistics from, more than 97,000 U.S. citizens were injured by gun-related violence last year, and among those involved, 31,593 were killed.

The Brady Campaign ranks Ohio as one of the least restricted gun control states in the nation because Ohio does not have a ban on assault weapons and does not have a “One-gun-a-month” law.

The Ohio Coalition Against Gun Violence (, another group dedicated to gun law reform, focuses on the people who buy guns legally but resell them illegally. To fix the problem, group leaders are looking to pass legislation that would make background checks more extensive and gun show transactions better documented.

“Forty percent of guns bought are secondary guns. You can buy them from the dealer and sell it to me the next day,” Toby Hoover, Executive Director of the group, said.  “It’s a popular thing because you’re selling to people who can’t pass the background check. That’s against the law, but it still happens. It’s common all over.”

Doe and Hofacker keep up with the gun control debate and have already faced restrictions. For every transaction and every concealed weapon permit, the two owners report to the FBI and perform a background check on behalf of the receiving individual.

Hofacker tweeks the action on an M4 pistol in his office February 3. Photo by Stephan Reed.

“There needs to be regulations on who can own guns,” Hofacker said. “We want to stay away from ‘sensible gun laws.’ That’s the term politicians like to say. We have thousands of laws on guns. We only need a few. Nobody could know everything inside the law book. The only reason they make it so difficult is to convolute and brainwash us.”

"Gun laws are only as good as the people who follow them," Doe said. "Like any other law, like murder, people break them everyday. People rob stores with guns, but is it the gun's fault? I could set this gun out on the table and it won't do it for 100 years if no one touches it." Photo by Stephan Reed.


Inside S and S Firearms, Hofacker and Doe converse around an office desk, which contains a bag of hand-packed bullets, a weathered book of gun laws and a poorly hidden flask of whiskey. Hofacker begins working on an M4 pistol and gives Doe a history lesson on each part of the gun and Doe shares his common defense for their business.

“A gun is nothing more than a tool, like a car,” Doe said. “If a person does something dastardly with a gun, then punish him. There are all kinds of rules in the book for that. If you took your car and ran over five people with it, that doesn’t mean they should take cars away from everyone.”

Hofacker and Doe are lifelong members of the National Rifle Association and are co-chairmen of their local chapter. They cite the NRA as the primary reasoning behind their business, their rationale for selling firearms to the public.

According to, a website dedicated to the review of new gun legislation, “Private citizens benefit from handguns for the same reason that the police do: handguns are easy to carry, and they are effective defensive tools. Handguns are used for protection more often than they are used to commit violent crimes, and two of every three defensive uses of firearms are carried out with handguns.”

Law requires Hofacker and Doe to call in background checks to the government before sales are final. They also perform checks on patrons trying to purchase ammunition and those attempting to obtain concealed carried permits.

In 1994, while Hofacker was working as a police officer, he was doing paperwork on a man who had been arrested on domestic violence charges, violating parole, resisting arresting and possession of a loaded .25 auto pistol. In 2011, the same man was in Hofacker’s gun class. The man was later rejected for his permit for having a felony on his record, just as Hofacker predicted.

Hofacker and his wife agree that their children should be introduced to firearms early.

“My kids started shooting at 4 years old,” Michelle Hofacker said. “A lot of people say that’s too young, but I say you’re never too young to be educated.”

There may be those who question the Second Amendment right to bear arms, but as long as laws permit, Hofacker will wear his gun rights on his sleeves — and even on the back of his truck.

Hofacker keeps a decal of the Second Amendment on the back window of his truck. Photo by Stephan Reed.

He has a decal with the words of the Second Amendment printed on the back window of his truck in the form of the American flag.

“Some people may think I’m a crackpot or a radical,” Hofacker said. “The Second Amendment is the one that allows for the first one to work properly.”

From left, Doe and Hofacker pose with their prize mountain lion during a hunting expedition in South Africa during the summer of 2011. Photo provided.