Deanna Alexander
Press Release

Shooting Data Exists but is Illegal to Share: Milwaukee Needs the State’s Help

City, County and State Should Cooperate on Weapons Use Reports

By - Apr 22nd, 2015 08:58 am

Milwaukee County Supervisor Deanna Alexander is looking for information that would help all levels of government better understand whether Milwaukee’s criminals are using the state’s lawful background check and permitting process to obtain and carry guns for criminal activity, or if they are simply ignoring those laws too.

That information is not only hard to come by, it is illegal to come by.

“After the most recent intense string of homicides in Milwaukee, I asked if shooters are even carrying legally.  I think we all know the answer to that question, but we need to see the data,” said Supervisor Alexander.

“It’s frustrating that some elected officials are blaming Conceal Carry Weapon (CCW) permit laws that help law-abiding citizens defend and protect themselves,” she continued.

Supervisor Alexander has tried gather data on shootings in Milwaukee County in order to propose a recurring intergovernmental report providing lawmakers, law enforcement and the public with statistics showing the number of shootings that happen at the hands of conceal carry permit holders, versus criminals who ignore the law altogether.

“I was shocked to learn that even our Sheriff, the county’s top officer charged with keeping the peace, can not get this information from the municipalities or the state.  This information could help policymakers at all levels determine better ways to evaluate, deter, and respond to crime,” said Alexander.

State law does not allow anyone to collect or divulge CCW permit information for any purpose other than necessary evidence in a prosecution or the annual Department of Justice report that simply states how many permit applications are received.

“We do not want to create any situations for government to retain a potential harassment list of permit holders, but there’s got to be a way to allow reporting of key statistics that will help us confirm what is really going on here,” Alexander said, calling on state legislators to consider options for revising the data compilation law.

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13 thoughts on “Shooting Data Exists but is Illegal to Share: Milwaukee Needs the State’s Help”

  1. PMD says:

    And why is it illegal? Who opposes the release of data like this?

  2. Kyle says:

    If I had to guess, it’s fear of creating a searchable database just waiting to be abused. Just look at the press that “Gun Geo Marker” and the retaliatory “Gunfree Geo Marker” have created. Or maybe the New York or Arkansas papers that published names and addresses of gun permit holders.

    That being said, I’d think you could get the same data from the other side of the equation. How many people arrested for gun crimes happen to also have a CCW permit? I imagine many would actively use it in their defense if accused of having a weapon on them.

  3. PMD says:

    Is the potential for abuse reason enough to prevent making this data available? How do you weigh that against the greater public good in this particular instance?

  4. Kyle says:

    I don’t see how there’s any public good in this case. What are you trying to find out from a full list of CCW permit holders that you can’t find out from the contents of a suspect’s wallet?

    Should we also have a freely available searchable database of everyone who’s ever gotten mental health treatment? The news says those people are scary too!

  5. PMD says:

    So what is the point of Alexander’s goal here? If she already knows that people shooting other people in Milwaukee are not CCW holders, why bother?

  6. Kyle says:

    Based on my reading of this, she wants the data to disprove the narative that CCW permits are the reason for Milwaukee’s currrent gun problem. But she approached it by trying to get a full CCW permit list, which purposefully doesn’t exist. I imagine there are other hurdles to figuring out which suspects may have CCW permits unless the police are specifically tracking that case by case. Far easier for her to search a list of people for shooter names than trying to get evidence from the cases.

  7. PMD says:

    Yes that does seem far easier. Are a lot of people making the claim that CCW holders are the reason for Milwaukee’s shooting problems?

  8. Kyle says:

    “It’s frustrating that some elected officials are blaming Conceal Carry Weapon (CCW) permit laws that help law-abiding citizens defend and protect themselves,” she continued.

    Alexander seems to think so.

    (As an aside, I have no idea how to properly quote a quote made by the same person writing but in the third person. I could never cover political press releases.)

  9. PMD says:

    Oh I know she thinks that, but I take what she says with a grain of salt.

  10. Bruce Thompson says:

    Without these data it is very hard to design measures that would actually reduce gun violence.

  11. Kyle says:

    Okay Bruce, I’ll bite. How were we supposed to reduce gun violence in the years before CCW passed? Or did passing CCW finally give us a way to design those measures, but only if we make everyone register for a list?

  12. PMD says:

    Yeah I’m pretty sympathetic to the gun control crowd but I’d love to know how a database of CCW holders leads to a reduction in gun violence, especially if the vast majority of gun violence is being perpetrated by non-CCW holders.

  13. Dave says:

    Please address your complaints to the NRA, Deanna. They are the reason we have minimal data on guns and crimes committed with guns in this country which makes it very difficult to have an informed public discussion on gun policy…just they way they like it.

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