Gun Show Loophole: County officials oppose proposal that puts Milwaukee County in the firearms business
The County Board’s Parks, Energy and Environment Committee approved a proposal from Milwaukee County Supervisor Patti Logsdon on March 16 that would allow gun shows to be held at the Milwaukee County Sports Complex.
Supervisor Logsdon proposed the ordinance change to allow gun shows at the complex in March 2020. The proposal had been laid over, referred back to committee, and referred to the Office of Corporation Counsel for a legal opinion before being recommended for adoption at the Parks Committee meeting.
It was also co-sponsored by Milwaukee County Supervisors Felesia A. Martin and Sylvia Ortiz-Velez. The resolution is expected to come before the full County Board on March 25.
Milwaukee County Supervisors Ryan Clancy and Joe Czarnezki, and Milwaukee County Board Supervisor Liz Sumner released a statement of opposition to the proposal.
“We are vehemently opposed to allowing gun shows at Milwaukee County facilities. Under state law, the County is unable to enforce common sense rules for gun shows at our own facilities, such as only allowing federally licensed firearm dealers, requiring private sellers to perform background checks, and imposing reasonable waiting periods.
We now know that 85-90% of vendors at the gun show previously hosted at the Milwaukee County Sports Complex were private sellers, and therefore not required to perform background checks. At the March 16 committee meeting, we learned that people came from across Wisconsin and Illinois to take advantage of the ‘gun show loophole’ and purchase guns without a background check or waiting period.
Supporters of this proposal claim that gun sales have occurred at this show for more than 20 years without incident. Yet without the ability to register or check buyers, that claim is completely unsubstantiated. Guns and ammunition purchased at this show could easily have been used in the commission of crimes and suicides in our community and elsewhere, but without the ability to track sales we have no way of knowing.
Supporters of this proposal have also claimed that gun shows are ‘A revenue driver for the County at a time when revenue is desperately needed.’ However, Milwaukee County can generate more revenue from other events, such as sporting matches, than from gun shows. There is no shortage of private sector venues for gun shows in Milwaukee County. Milwaukee County does not need to be in the gun show business.”