West Milwaukee’s Badger Outdoors again was tops among all gun shops in the nation last year for selling guns that later were recovered by police during criminal investigations, says the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. 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, said the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.
The ranking was released in a federal trial in which another store with many crime gun traces – Trader Sports Inc. of San Leandro, Ca. – sued to try to keep its dealer’s license. Badger has been criticized for selling cheap handguns, which were bought by “straw buyers” with clean records and then passed on to gang members. Co-owner Mick Beatovic attributed the high ranking to the low number of gun stores in Milwaukee, Badger’s proximity to a high-crime area, and Milwaukee’s tracing every recovered gun, something that not all departments do. “We are not the bad guys, damn it. I don’t care what those numbers say,” he said. Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett today is scheduled to meet with Beatovic, top police commanders and prosecutors, to talk about curbing gun violence. The meeting comes after a bloody weekend in Milwaukee in which 28 people were shot, four fatally.