Milwaukee Police Chief Ed Flynn is at it again.
On Monday night, attendees of a town hall meeting to discuss violence in Milwaukee at the Wisconsin Black Historical Society were encouraged to submit written questions for members of the panel, which included Arizona-based policing expert Michael Scott, Chief Flynn, and Mike Crivello, president of the Milwaukee Police Association.
Following the panel’s discussion, a caring audience member teed up a perfect question for Flynn, asking if he thought Wisconsin’s Concealed Carry Law was contributing to Milwaukee’s rampant gun violence. Flynn said yes, ‘because only convicted felons are barred from permits while “human holsters” with cleaner records hold guns for big-time drug dealers.’
“It’s an irresponsible law passed by irresponsible legislatures who are more interested in ideological points and I’d sure as hell like some more community outrage about that because that’s what driving the violence in this city and too many public officials are silent on it,” Chief Flynn said.
Crivello was quick to address Flynn’s comment, and stated,”I have never had a conversation with you, chief, relative to you displaying that we are arresting an overwhelming amount of people, or even one person, who’s committed a crime while carrying a CCW (permit).”
“I am forbidden to tell the public when a CCW permit holder breaks the law. I’m forbidden by statute,” Flynn snapped back.
Well, as a concealed carry permit holder in the great state of Wisconsin, I am outraged, but I’m outraged at Mr. Flynn’s lack of self-awareness and professional accountability.
If he wants to talk about how concealed carry permits (CCPs) in Wisconsin affect Milwaukee, then, by all means, let’s talk about it, shall we?
Let’s look at 2015:
By the end of the year, the Dairy State reported the total number of concealed carry permits issued by the Wisconsin Department of Justice was just under 285,000 – roughly 5% of the state’s total population.
667 licenses were denied in 2015 for reasons ranging from misdemeanor convictions, juvenile adjudication of delinquency for a felony offense, felony convictions, being a fugitive from justice, and unlawful use of a controlled substance. Of the 922 licenses revoked by the WI DOJ, 104 of those licenses were for felony convictions.
125 of those homicides took place in the city of Milwaukee – making Chief Flynn professionally responsible for 73.5% of all murders committed with a firearm in 2015 in the state of Wisconsin.
Of the 125 murders committed in 2015 with a firearm, Milwaukee police were able to make arrests in only 49 of those cases.
I conducted and compiled extensive research on each of those cases which can be found [HERE].
- 15 of the suspects arrested in these murders were under the minimum age requirement for a concealed carry permit in the State of Wisconsin
- 22 of the suspects were felons illegally in possession of a firearm
- 2 were ruled self-defense
- 2 were ruled justified self-defense
- In my opinion, 4 of the 44 gun homicides committed in Milwaukee in 2015 could possibly have been committed by a concealed carry permit holder
“I’m not aware of evidence of statistical significance that there are people who gain a permit who are committing crime with guns … and there’s not a lot of evidence of people using guns to protect themselves or others,” said Wisconsin Attorney General Brad Schimel. “We only give permits to people who are law-abiding, who have no record of anything that disqualifies them from seeking that firearm, and those people don’t tend to commit crimes with the guns.”
“Any fluctuations in crime, increase or otherwise, involve individuals utilizing guns who don’t have the lawful ability to do so,” said James Palmer, executive director of the Wisconsin Professional Police Association.
But in November 2016, Flynn made a bold statement, telling USA TODAY NETWORK-Wisconsin,
“What we’re seeing are more guns on the streets. I can tell you anecdotally we’re seeing a number of shootings involving concealed carry permit holders — many of whom have extensive criminal records — but I’m not allowed to tell you how many or whom, because the law has been carefully written to prevent analysis of that information.”
When I wasn’t able to find any statute in the Wisconsin State Law pertaining to the Concealed Carry that states law enforcement is ‘barred from informing the public‘ when a CCP holder breaks the law, I called my local sheriff’s office, the Wisconsin Department of Justice, the Attorney General’s office, my local District Attorney, and local representatives. Nobody could point to a statute to corroborate Chief Flynn’s statement.
I finally called the Milwaukee Police Department and asked if they could name the statute Chief Flynn referenced in his statement Monday night. Their response?
MPD: “I did check with my Lieutenant here and they’re saying that there is a statute, it’s not on hand, I don’t have it to provide to you, but it is set up through the Department of Justice there regarding CCW. I’m not sure if you can query the CCW…”
JJ: “I called the Department of Justice and they didn’t have an answer for me either.”
MPD: “I don’t, I don’t, I don’t have that actual state statute for you I don’t know if you probably could keep querying or use your search engine, I don’t have that actual state number.”
JJ: “Okay, but your Lieutenant says that there is one.”
JJ: “What’s his name?”
MPD: <pause> “Hold on one second, okay?”
I was then transferred over to the Chief’s secretary, Staff Assistant Hendricks, who also did not know the state statute number but took my information and called me back this morning with the specific statute number Flynn is referencing with his comments.
According to Wis. Stat. § 175.60 12G (b)1.
1. Notwithstanding s. 19.35, neither a law enforcement agency nor any of its employees may make information regarding an individual that was obtained from the department under this subsection available to the public except in the context of a prosecution for an offense in which the person’s status as a licensee or holder of a certification card is relevant. (emphasis added)
So if Flynn did arrest someone who had used a firearm with their concealed carry permit to commit a crime, it is legally permissible for law enforcement and/or the prosecution to make that information available to the public.
In November 2016, The Post-Crescent reported:
Police in Wisconsin are allowed to consult the database of concealed carry permit holders only to determine whether a permit someone has or claims to have is valid, or whether someone lied on their permit application.
Statutory language also bans police from storing information they obtained under the allowable circumstances, and they cannot “sort or access information regarding vehicle stops, investigations, civil or criminal offenses or other activities” based on the person’s permit status.
The public has even more limited access, as information on whether a specific person has a permit can be released only “in the context of a prosecution for an offense in which the person’s status as a licensee or holder of a certification card is relevant.”
“They’ve made it impossible to discover causation the way the law is written, so all we have are correlations, and that’s obviously a concern when it comes to evaluating the effectiveness of public policy,” Flynn said. The data “certainly would inform the public that there is a price to be paid for increasing access to concealed carry permits. The public should be aware of that price and decide if it’s excessive.”
When asked if Walker is comfortable with the inability to study the impact of concealed carry, spokesman Tom Evenson said the governor “believes the government should not invade the privacy of law-abiding citizens.” Evenson said the lack of a “serious effort to repeal the law” is proof it hasn’t had a negative impact.
Schimel said he’s comfortable with the restrictions and hasn’t heard objections to them outside of Flynn.
“Law enforcement deal with circumstances one incident at a time. I don’t know what benefit there’d be to law enforcement being able to access that data,” Schimel said. “I’ve got a little libertarian streak in me … and I get the people who don’t want that to be public information, or available to any law enforcement officer that wants to look it up.”
In a state with 5.77 million people, Flynn continues to focus on law-abiding citizens outside the 10.3% of the state’s population he is responsible for serving and protecting.
Wisconsin is 65,498 mi². At 96.8 mi², the city of Milwaukee is .14% of the entire state, yet it’s responsible for 74% of murders committed with a firearm.
That is not the result of a state law, Chief Flynn – that’s your failure to effectively command your agency of 2,000 sworn officers and 700 civilians, and a gross disservice to the more than 600,000 residents in Milwaukee.
No more excuses – Milwaukee needs to demand accountability from their Chief of Police!