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.

Friday, October 02, 2009

Badger guns, and 'crime guns'

Milwaukee's Badger Guns (formerly Badger Outdoors) is no stranger to controversy. With a long-established reputation as a major source of "crime guns," it has long been a favorite target of the forcible citizen disarmament lobby. From a May, 2006 article:

West Milwaukee's Badger Outdoors last year again was tops among all gun shops in the nation for selling guns that later were recovered by police during criminal investigations, according to new data from the federal government.

In 2005, there were 537 crime guns - an average of more than 10 a week - recovered and traced to Badger, the Milwaukee area's largest gun dealer. None of the others in the top five had more than 500 crime guns traced to them, according to the document from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.

[ . . . ]

In 1998, Badger had the most crime guns traced to it among all gun dealers in the United States and then fell from the top spot, only to regain the spot last year. Badger has been criticized for selling cheap handguns, which were bought by "straw buyers" with clean records and then passed on to gang members. In a 1999 sweep, the majority of straw buyers bought the guns legally at Badger.
One fact that is always glossed over by those who screech these statistics is that traced guns are not necessarily "crime guns."

Mick Beatovic, the owner at the time, resented (with good reason) being blamed for whatever violence was committed with guns bought at his shop.
Beatovic attributed the high ranking to the low number of gun stores in Milwaukee, Badger's proximity to a high-crime area and the practice of Milwaukee police of tracing every recovered gun, something that not all departments do.

Beatovic said his store on S. 43rd St. isn't part of the problem. He said he often testifies in court cases, opens his records to detectives and frequently calls police to arrest people trying to buy guns illegally.

"We are not the bad guys, damn it. I don't care what those numbers say," he said.
Wisconsin's forcible citizen disarmament lobbying group wasn't buying it:
Jeri Bonavia, executive director, Wisconsin Anti-Violence Effort, said Badger needs close scrutiny.

"Clearly, what they are doing is not enough," she said. "You don't end up number one in the entire nation by crossing all the t's and dotting i's."
No evidence--just a standard anti-gun witch hunt.

On the other hand, I can't muster a great deal of sympathy for Beatovic, as I see him as something of a traitor. This is what he said about a bill proposed in Wisconsin that would have required background checks even on private gun sales (which would then, of course, cease to be private):
"The anti-gunners say, 'Let's do it.' The pro-gunners say, 'Oh, my God. You can't do it.' Well come on. Somebody needs to wake up, smell the coffee, alright, this is the way to stop it," says Mick Beatovic of the Badger Outdoors gun store.
Whether he took that position out of a desire to neutralize what he might have thought of as a competitive advantage of private sellers, or he simply wanted to placate the citizen disarmament lobby, by compromising away that which shall not be infringed--or perhaps it was a combination of both considerations--matters little to me. Whichever--he was on the wrong side, and serving only himself. Thankfully, the bill failed.

In 2007, though, Beatovic sold the store to an employee, Adam Allan, who changed the name to Badger Guns. Since then, controversy has, if anything, intensified.

More to come . . .


Hecate said...

What the oh-so-biased never admit is that police trace guns for many different reasons. Omaha has a local ordinance that they insist means your carry gun has to be registered in Omaha no matter where you live in order to carry there legally. If you were pulled over by an OPD offcer, since there is duty to notify in state law, without a registration certificate your gun would be confiscated on the spot. So I had to go to Omaha and register my custom Wilson.

They ran a trace on the serial number before registering the gun (the officer doing the registration also called several other officers over to fondle my 1911). No crime was involved whatsoever. But gun-banners will count that trace as a "crime gun" just as if it was a Lorcin used to hold up a QwikShop.

Now we have preemption, and Omaha can no longer impose additional restrictions on permit holders. Too bad they won't "un-register" my gun.

Kurt '45superman' Hofmann said...

Thanks for that information--I hadn't realized Omaha was that messed up.

Your point about the difference between traced guns and "crime guns" is a good one, and one I had been trying to make--you illustrated it very well.

My Gun Rights Examiner colleague Paul Valone has a personal account of his own about that:

“Officer, I am carrying a firearm in compliance with North Carolina law.” So began my exchange during a traffic stop. (Sorry, I have a lead foot.) He replied, “May I have it, sir?” Since this was before I knew enough to say “no,” I complied. The officer then took my gun to his car, traced it and, finding nothing amiss, returned it to me. MAIG’s report would have you believe my gun is a “crime gun” because it would be included in the gun trace reports on which its study is based.

Therein lies the scam: Although gun control advocates call gun tracing a measure of crime, traced guns are not necessarily “crime guns.” Says the Congressional Research Service: “Trace requests are not accurate indicators of specified crimes…traces may be requested for a variety of reasons not necessarily related to criminal incidents.” Indeed, BATFE encourages police to trace all guns encountered.