Will the Sheriff round up a posse to go after those felons? And do we really need more guns on the street?
I haven't exactly been taking a sabbatical from Roasted Nuts. I haven't exactly had writer's block, either. Rather, I've just been so inundated with ideas inside my brilliant mind that I haven't been able to piece them all together.
My brilliance. It's a blessing and a curse. In any event, today will be about little more than a few rants and rambles about felons and guns. We hit on each of the 3 big law enforcement gurus in today's Roasted Nuts.
First, the sheriff. As to the sheriff, Daniel Bice recently reported that despite his get tough attitude on collecting DNA, DNA collections at the House of Corrections lingered for something like 5 months, resulting in his disclosure that he...ahem...didn't even bother to collect DNA from at least 350 felons this year! In the shadow of the Ellis charges, I really can't understand how so many felons fell through the cracks. The Department of Correction's Division of Community Correction, which monitors felons ON THE STREETS seems to be doing a good job of collecting DNA. It's those guys with a captive audience who failed to do the follow through. The thing is, it should be even easier to collect DNA at a place like the House of Correction. It's like shooting (or swabbing) fish in a barrel. Grab 'em and tag 'em. Gotcha!.
What do they need to do? Bring in Maury Povich? He gets DNA results every week. It can't be that difficult, can it?
That Daniel Bice article, BTW, can be retrieved online (http://www.jsonline.com/news/milwaukee/63459037.html)
I'm not going to be melodramatic and suggest each one of these gaps is a potential Walter Ellis, but....oh what the hell...each one of these missed tests could be another Walter Ellis!
Meanwhile, I had drafted the DNA stuff a week and a half ago, insulted enough at local law enforcement. Then I read the newspaper today. The journal sentinel reported that Police Chief Flynn and DA Chisolm are both on board with a plan to allow concealed carry of firearms.
For those who think such laws are inevitable because we're one of the last states that doesn't allow it, I say B*LLSH*T. (For those who can't decipher my code, it means "BELL SHUT". I don't curse here, folks)
That being said, allowing concealed carry even under the premise that other loopholes would be closed, such as gun show exemptions is hardly a compromise. Requiring permits for ownership does make sense, but making it into a felony makes less sense, because it would effectively punish people for possessing others guns' (even temporarily). And how would those permits be made evident? Would they need to be carried with the piece? Would there be a searchable database accessible to police? What if the gun was registered out of state? Could it be verified? How would any of this play during hunting season? Would the permit go with the person or the piece? I actually believe that registering each firearm would make a lot of sense, but I'm not sure about the feasibility of that.
As for eliminating concealed carry laws outright, there would be problems with that, too. First, concealed weapons pose a threat to law enforcement and can be used to either facilitate a crime or give a criminal some added stamina to follow through with a crime. Trust me, I've represented plenty of people who have used or held onto guns during the commission of crimes. Imagine a typical scenario: police stop a driver for suspended tags; the driver or a passenger shifts nervously while the police run plates, or appear nervous when police approach; police search the car and find a gun under the passenger seat in back. Under today's law, someone would get prosecuted for a misdemeanor. Under the apparently new line of thinking, police would find the gun and go, "Huh. Nice piece. Have a good drive, and sorry for the inconvenience!" Given the fear of officers' safety in a traffic stop without concealed carry being legal, think of the effect on a police officer's psyche if concealed carry were legal: more people allowed to have more guns without recourse. It can't be a good result.
Concealed carry laws are problematic. but they are the best tool we have right now. And as for prosecutions involving criminals who carried guns during the commission of a crime, it would be almost superfluous and irrelevant for a DA to argue that gun possession during the commission of a crime is an aggravating factor, because it would be perfectly legal (unless, under these new proposals, it is an unregistered firearm).
At least the gun stores will benefit. Think of the boon to sales it will be when thugs realize that the absence of a felony conviction on their record would entitle them to freely carry a registered, concealed gun. They'll be lining up at Badger.
I like a lot of what Tom Barrett is talking about: making a second or subsequent concealed carry violation into a felony. Laws requiring felons to keep a certain distance from gun stores would also be beneficial in stopping those who use their friends or significant others' to purchase a firearm while the felon waits in the car outside the store. That tool may be difficult to implement, but it sharply addresses the straw purchases that have concerned police as of late.
The reality of it is that there's a bit of class warfare going on in this concealed weapons debate. Any of these restrictions are going to disparately effect individuals based on wealth and race. I worry that the result of staunch gun rights advocacy is to flame distrust, hatred, and violence. I don't think any of us want to live in the Old West. Or want to feel like we have to pack heat to protect ourselves. I want to live in a safer community. I think that we're safer with fewer guns, not more.