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Badger Guns In West Milwaukee Should Be Forced Out Of Business

September 27, 2009

The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel had a shocker of a statement as a lead-in to their story on guns.  “Sales often tied to crime.”  Who would ever have thought that possible from a store that sells guns?  I am not chiding the newspaper, as the story they write is accurate, and timely.  The idea however that we are still needing to have these type of stories reported is what I find disturbing.  The gun culture is very much alive and deadly as ever in Wisconsin, and part of the reason for that are those who make blood money by selling weapons. 

When you read the following I am confident that will feel some anger.  Be mindful that there is nothing wrong with righteous anger. 

What is allowed to happen with Badger Guns impacts our society as a whole.  If there was raw sewage being thrown into the streets by this business steps would be taken to remedy the matter.  If an outbreak of a deadly communicable disease occurred within their doors the city would step in and act immediately.  Therefore there is no reason that the public should need to endure the blood and pain that is caused by this business through their gun sales anymore.  Enough is enough!

Badger Guns, and its predecessor, Badger Outdoors, have accounted for roughly one-third of all crime guns traced by Milwaukee police in the past four years, the data shows. No other store in the state comes close to that figure. The next closest, The Shooters Shop in West Allis, accounted for less than 3% of guns traced by Milwaukee police during the same period.

A total of 1,880 crime guns recovered in Milwaukee were linked to Badger between January 2006 and Sept. 1 – or more than one a day, according to a Journal Sentinel analysis.

Badger isn’t just the biggest seller of crime guns in Milwaukee, but among the biggest in the nation. Badger Outdoors was one of the top sellers a decade ago and was No. 1 as of 2005, according to federal data. Congress has since forbidden the release of such rankings.

Badger Outdoors went out of business in 2007 but was reopened as Badger Guns in August of that year by a longtime employee of Badger Outdoors. Besides the name change, the operation remains largely the same at the gun shop on S. 43rd St.

The department’s operation at Badger kicked off two days after Milwaukee police Officers Graham Kunisch and Bryan Norberg were shot in June. The gun used to shoot the officers was purchased at Badger Guns a month earlier by a straw buyer, according to prosecutors. That shooting came less than two years after a different pair of officers were shot in November 2007 with a gun from Badger Outdoors.

During the 11-week operation, Milwaukee police:

• Discovered felons use Badger’s shooting range for target practice. In one case, store employees rented a gun to a felon to shoot. Another felon had a shooting “range pass card” in his pocket showing he had shot at Badger previously. Store employees check driver’s licenses but not criminal histories of shooters.

• Seized 12 guns from felons and others leaving the store. They arrested nine felons for possessing guns, seven for carrying a concealed weapon and four on drug charges. Eight people have been charged so far as a result of the sweep.

• Spotted felons frequently going in the store or waiting outside. Felons are banned from possessing guns, but probation agents do not routinely require felons to stay out of gun stores such as Badger. Police and prosecutors say that should change.

Police Chief Edward Flynn said he learned how many guns from Badger were ending up in violent crimes when he became chief nearly two years ago. After the officers were shot, Flynn ordered up a plan to target illegal gun buys at Badger.

“I had an enough-is-enough moment,” Flynn said. “They know to whom they are selling, they know what is happening with their product, they know citizens in Milwaukee are dying, and they don’t care.”


  1. James permalink
    February 27, 2010 6:49 PM

    If you really want to help the streets of Milwaukee, allow CCW. Wisconsin and Illinois are the only two states who do not allow it. I’m sure plenty of us would gladly protect another citizen if we were given the opprotunity to. And instead of us falling victim to the crimninals (who carry concealed, legal or not) we would have a fighting chance. Have you ever been robbed at gunpoint Deke? I have.

    I can’t believe some people actually believe this article. Deke also says he believes bar owners should be held responsible for letting people who are too drunk leave the bar and drive home?

    So wait, the BAR OWNER should be responsible for THE DRINKER’s actions? How about we all take responsibility for our own actions? Didn’t your mom and dad teach you that? How about we punish the irresponsible PEOPLE instead of trying to smear the businesses who are doing simply what businesses do- trying to make a buck, legally.

    Deke, you completely lack common sense on this subject. Punish the criminals, not those who are doing things legally.

  2. Seth permalink
    February 20, 2010 8:14 PM

    Would Jesus shop at Badger Guns?

  3. February 20, 2010 12:23 PM

    Thanks for reading and commenting. I hope before you make other comments about other topics you think I have an opinion on that you please browse this blog first.

    I have called for bar owners to be liable for the actions of their drunk customers they serve who then kill someone while driving after leaving the bar. (I have held bars to the same level as this dreadful gun store.) I have called for new standards required for snowmobilers and drinking. I have ripped the Tavern League for their actions. I used to work with the State Assembly and have seen the lobbyists for both the TL and NRA….and I can tell you they both reek.

    I also have like-wise called for those who manufacture certain guns that are used for murder to be liable for the product they sell.

    As the police have noted there is a problem with Badger Guns. As a citizen of this state I am concerned. As a human being who reads of the tens of thousands who are killed every year because of handguns I am concerned and saddened. Our nation is just crazy in this regard.

    The old lame responses are offered by the NRA types over and over. I even had a comment about baseball bats being used as weapons….so you see the type of ‘logic’ that is used here.

  4. Jenifer Jaecks permalink
    February 20, 2010 11:20 AM

    You could make the same comment regarding drunk driving victims, yet you do not call for shutting down liquor stores, bars, or breweries… or GM, Toyota, or any other auto maker for providing the vehicle…

    What EXACTLY do you propose Badger does to prevent straw purchases? “Tighten security”? Have you been IN Badger? These people’s lives and livelihoods depend on security as well as following the law.

    I’ve filled out background papers at four different stores to purchase firearms (including Badger), and the paperwork and procedures are exactly the same

  5. DAVE permalink
    February 19, 2010 8:19 PM

    I’m shocked blame the store it is so much easier to do that than to admit the problem is really the people in the city of milwaukee and their thug mentality.the children that have stolen guns that are out on the streets single parent family’s that do not watch their children and are brought up with little to no discipline.why not demonize the tool whats next why not close k mart they sell baseball bats close grocery stores they sell glass bottles ban parks they have tree branches close hardware stores they have knives and hammers all of which could be used as weapons i could go on and on( get real) . you really want to help have these people take a gun safety course let them learn the safe law abiding way to enjoy the sport. and the lawbreakers throw them under the jail……..

  6. Josh permalink
    February 13, 2010 9:00 AM

    This guys understands…:)

  7. Josh permalink
    February 13, 2010 8:58 AM


  8. Oliver permalink
    February 12, 2010 7:35 PM

    Every gun, every SINGLE gun that has ever been purchased from badger, was purchased legally, or else badger would not have sold it. BADGER HAS NO CONTROL OVER THAT FIREARM ONCE IT LEAVES THEIR SHOP. It is a very simple concept.

    Even if you were able to get your silly, angry wish, do you know what would happen? The shooter shop would pick up the slack. Will you then call for them to be closed?

    As for the ‘kids’ that meet their demise…how about punishing sayyy….the criminal that A) bought the gun and B) pulled the trigger? How can you conclude that someone that played absoluetly NO role in a crime be guilt of that crime?

    Lastly, I would like to thank YOU Deke Rivers, for bringing attention to this issue. I will take it upon myself, to buy my next gun from Badger, and if the prices are right many more, to make sure that bad articles and poor opinions do not make their business suffer. YOU can take credit for some free advertising for Badger, I am sure they appreciate it. If I mention your name will I get a discount?

  9. Brian permalink
    February 2, 2010 4:21 PM

    You need to “get a clue”, dekerivers.

    Firstly, anger is not an emotion that has any positive outcome. You may not like something, but to be emotional about it will always cloud your better judgment.

    Secondly, those kids (gladiators in training) you reach out to have been steeped in the “crime is cool ’cause my music says so” culture that supercedes your good intentions. It also goes far beyond single parents and low income, but that is another topic entirely.

    This whole story is akin to the mob mentality that we should go after Jack Daniel’s Distillery because 10 year-old Billy got into the liquor cabinet. It is ridiculous. Badger Guns has to go through the same background checks and procedures like ANY other seller.

    This is a witch hunt. Plain and simple.

    In reality, if there were no guns to buy, then we would be looking into which garden the rock came from, or which tree the stick was taken from.

    Time to wake up and look back on thousands of years of human violence. Put an end to that and you may have something.

    Until that day, do something actually useful: Look into the differences between a Police Force and peacekeepers. We used to have them. Report about why we no longer do..

  10. James permalink
    January 31, 2010 5:48 AM

    Deke, you keep blaming BADGER for simply doing what they do- selling guns. Should we shut down Shooter’s Shop, Fletchers, Dunhams, Gander Mountain and Cabelas (etc) as well? They all sell guns. Those guns have the same opprotunity to end up in the wrong hands.

    If someone is legal to buy a gun, and their background check comes back OK, and there is no reason to suspect that they are straw buying… why should Badger NOT sell them the gun? I’ve bought guns from Badger. They do everything legit. They don’t skimp on security, or let you bypass any paperwork, or skip the background check.

    Badger is doing everything legally. Maybe we should impose tougher, mandatory sentences on straw buyers. Wisconsin is the only state where straw buying is only a misdemeanor. That means that straw buyers can CONTINUE straw buying! How ridiculous is that? You buy a gun for someone who isn’t supposed to have one, and instead of losing your freedom, or AT LEAST your freedom to buy guns, you get a slap on the wrist and move on to the next “buddy” who needs a gun.

    Maybe you should put your blame where it belongs.

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