Mission statement:

Armed and Safe is a gun rights advocacy blog, with the mission of debunking the "logic" of the enemies of the Constitutionally guaranteed, fundamental human right of the individual to keep and bear arms.

I can be reached at 45superman@gmail.com.You can follow me on Twitter at http://twitter.com/45superman.

Saturday, October 03, 2009

Badger guns, and 'crime guns,' Part II

Yesterday, we looked at the controversy that dogged a gun shop (Badger Outdoors) in Milwaukee. Since then, the store has a (slightly) new name: Badger Guns, and a new owner: former Badger Outdoors employee Adam Allan. What has not changed is the level of controversy, or the source of that controversy: Badger's reputation as a major source of "crime guns."

Back in the Badger Outdoors days, the owner, Mick Beatovic, despite his store's reputation as a "crime gun" source, had a personal reputation of willingness to work with the mayor and with law enforcement to address their concerns.

The store's owner then, Mick Beatovic, vowed to cooperate. He promised to stop selling certain cheap guns. He always quickly turned over gun sale records and surveillance tape and testified in court, Smith said.

"Their surveillance is excellent, the cooperation is good but it never stops the problem," Smith said. "It is the game we play with them.
I would actually call Beatovic a bit too cooperative--by agreeing to stop selling affordable handguns, he tacitly agreed to price poor people--the very people who live in neighborhoods where they will most likely need to defend themselves--out of the self-defense market. As I pointed out yesterday, there's also this:
Studies have shown that most crime guns change hands at least once after they are sold by a gun shop or other dealer. However, no background check or paperwork for sale is done after the initial purchase. That is wrong, Beatovic said.

He said he has done background checks for people who are selling guns privately and want to make sure they aren't selling to a felon. Beatovic said all gun sales should require background checks.

"Anyone in their right mind should not be against it - and that comes from a gun owner and NRA member," he said.
In other words, Beatovic lobbied in favor of outlawing private gun sales--a rather . . . convenient (self-serving) stance for a gun dealer.

Still, despite Beatovic's cooperation, he was still vilified and harassed--which is perhaps why the new owner seems to have seen little incentive in acquiescing to the demands being placed on him.

Those demands are considerable:
Mayor Tom Barrett called on Badger immediately to begin scanning the identification of everyone coming into the store, like some bars do, and to look up anyone who wants to shoot on the range to make sure he isn't a felon.

Police Chief Edward Flynn suggested that anyone who comes into the store to buy a gun or shoot on the range sign a sworn affidavit saying he is not a criminal or committing a crime. Then store managers should allow police to inspect it, he said.
These demands, let's remember, are not mandated by law--they're simply steps that the mayor and police chief want the owner to take "voluntarily." As a gun owner, I would never patronize a store that agreed to such demands. Not because I have anything to hide, but because I refuse to allow my exercise of my Constitutionally guaranteed, fundamental human right of the individual to keep and bear arms to be used as justification to treat me as a second class citizen, as a suspect; and I would guess that I am far from the only gun owner who sees it that way.

Says Chief Flynn:
"We are past the point of negotiating," he said. "They need to get their act together."
Or else . . . ?

That's what I thought.

Allan, by the way, does work hard to block "straw purchases." He bans the use of cell phones in the store, because one way such purchases are made is that the person prohibited from gun possession recruits a purchaser with a clean record, who often knows nothing about guns, and thus needs some over-the-phone guidance to select the right one. Allan also claims to turn away a great many suspicious would-be purchasers--a claim I find quite plausible, because considering all the scrutiny his store has been under, I am certain that numerous "sting" attempts have been made, obviously without success.

Here's a recent anecdote about police surveillance of Badger Guns.
The felon finally fessed up but insisted he was only in Badger to help his 22-year-old girlfriend shop for a gun. Officer Joseph Honzelka quizzed the woman. He found her answers suspicious - she didn't know a handgun from a shotgun.

"I asked her what kind of gun she was looking for," Honzelka said. "She said she looked at all the guns and didn't like any."

Police suspected she was a potential straw buyer, but there was little officers could do. There was no gun in the car and no proof the felon touched a firearm while in Badger. The only option for police would be to tell the felon's parole agent he had been in the store.
In other words, no "straw sale" was made, and in fact, a straw purchase may have been thwarted by the alertness and conscientiousness of Allan and/or his staff.

The latest controversy is over a sign Allan had up protesting the constant police stake-outs in front of the store, and what he views as racial profiling of his customers. Columnist Eugene Kane disagrees--I've talked about him before.

Others calls to have Badger forced out of business (just what a struggling economy needs--more businesses shut down), despite zero evidence of wrongdoing:

Badger Gun Shop in Milwaukee
Badger Guns In West Milwaukee Should Be Forced Out Of Business
Changes needed

So much for the presumption of evidence pending proof of guilt, eh?


Unknown said...

45superman, Thanks for the link to my post on the Badger situation.

You know what just occurred to me? So often people accuse me of not respecting the presumption of innocence, but maybe that's just for the courts. Maybe in op-ed articles and blog posts, it's permissible to jump to reasonable conclusions and pursue those directions. We're just talking. We're not suggesting our ideas should carry the weight of law.

When an FFL guy acts badly enough to lose his license and he turns the business over to his relative or friend and carries on as if nothing ever happened, I say that's a travesty of justice, and I don't understand how you can condone and defend it.

Kurt '45superman' Hofmann said...

Mr. B-Three-hundred-two-thousand, I certainly agree that it is up to you to decide how heavy a burden of proof is required for conviction in the "court of mikeb302000's opinion." I distrust the idea of lightening that burden, though--I think it fosters an attitude in which the accused is presumed guilty. The jury, after all, is drawn from a pool of people who might have read about the case, and might have their thinking altered by that kind of attitude (same for the judge, I suppose).

As for the "FFL guy" who "acts badly enough to lose his license and he turns the business over to his relative or friend and carries on as if nothing ever happened," we disagree about that--but what's the relevance here? Beatovic (the original owner) never did lose his license (as far as I know--perhaps I missed it?)--he just retired to Arizona.