Milwaukee Council Asks State to Toughen Gun Laws

Mayor Barret of Milwaukee pushes for more gun control.The Common Council urged lawmakers to adopt legislation that would require felons to stay 1,000 feet from gun stores, shooting ranges and gun shows, and that would declare “straw buying” of guns to be a felony and failure to report stolen guns a crime.

Those measures came partly in response to concerns about firearms sold at Badger Guns of West Milwaukee. For years, Badger and its predecessor, Badger Outdoors, have been leading suppliers of guns used in crimes, including the weapons that wounded all six Milwaukee police officers shot in the past two years.

The Journal Sentinel has highlighted those issues in a series of stories.

Because felons are prohibited from buying guns, they sometimes use associates with clean records to purchase firearms for them, a practice known as straw buying. That’s a misdemeanor under state law and a felony under federal law.

Since 2007, 21 of 27 federal straw-buying cases in the Milwaukee area involved guns bought at Badger Guns or Badger Outdoors. Straw buying was proved or suspected to be a factor for all of the guns used in the six most recent police shootings. A Milwaukee police investigation found continuing indications of straw buying at Badger, with felons freely entering the store and even using the firing range to practice shooting.

In some cases, Milwaukee Police Chief Edward Flynn says, straw buyers claim their guns have been stolen, which is why Flynn, Mayor Tom Barrett and their allies want to require that stolen guns be reported to police.

Badger owner Adam Allan has said he tries to prevent straw buying and that his store’s proximity to Milwaukee is the reason for its prominence in crime gun statistics. But a nearby store in West Allis has sold far fewer crime guns and has not been involved in as many straw-buying cases.

Concealed carry debate

Flynn and Milwaukee County District Attorney John Chisholm recently split with Barrett by recommending the package of gun crime legislation include legalization of carrying concealed weapons, with tough penalties for anyone carrying a concealed gun without a permit.

Wisconsin and Illinois are the only states that prohibit concealed carry.

But the package backed by the council does not include that measure and instead calls for elevating second and subsequent concealed-carry offenses from misdemeanors to felonies. Read more

Source: Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

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