Milwaukee Police Chief Ed Flynn owes concealed-carry permit holders an apology, although I don’t think we’re likely to get one. You see, a couple of months ago Chief Flynn claimed that licensed concealed-carry holders were driving up the violent crime rate in Milwaukee. At a town hall meeting on June 26, Flynn was asked by a resident about the state’s concealed-carry law and whether it’s a contributing factor in the city’s growing violent crime. Flynn wholeheartedly insisted that yes, concealed carry is a problem, telling the resident, “It’s an irresponsible law passed by irresponsible legislators who are more interested in ideological points, and I’d sure as hell like some more community outrage about that, because that’s what’s driving the violence in this city and too many public officials are silent on it.”
The head of the local police union challenged Flynn to back up his claims, but the chief has never produced any evidence. In the meantime, however, an experiment of sorts has been conducted on the streets of downtown Milwaukee, and the results are clear: Concealed-carry permit holders are safe, responsible and law-abiding. When the NRA Carry Guard Expo took place in Milwaukee at the end of August, the event brought thousands of concealed-carry holders to town. If Chief Flynn’s hypothesis is true, then the influx of men and women legally carrying guns should have led to the most violent weekend of the year in Milwaukee. The jail should have been full of out-of-towners hauled in for committing violent crimes with their legally carried handguns.
Instead, the thousands of concealed-carry permit holders peacefully protected themselves throughout the weekend.Obviously, none of that happened. Instead, the thousands of concealed-carry permit holders peacefully protected themselves throughout the weekend. They dined in restaurants, strolled along city streets, and took in classes and wandered the aisles of the exhibit hall at the NRA Carry Guard Expo. Some of them even engaged in civil discussions with the handful of protestors who showed up outside the Wisconsin Center on Saturday afternoon with signs calling for the repeal of the Second Amendment.
I talked with several police officers over the course of the weekend, and not one of them agreed with Chief Flynn’s belief that concealed-carry holders are driving the city’s violent crime. Instead, they talked about the drug trade, the petty beefs between young men, turf battles between gangs, and a steady stream of repeat, violent offenders who never seem to get the time behind bars that they deserve. Concealed-carry holders? Not an issue.
It would have been nice if Chief Flynn had issued an apology to permit holders before the NRA Carry Guard Expo took place, but now that it’s passed and we’ve seen that having thousands of additional concealed-carry holders in town doesn’t lead to the Wild West, a mea culpa by Milwaukee’s chief is long overdue. Concealed-carry license holders are safe. We’re responsible. We’re law-abiding. There are more of us every day, and that’s a good thing.
Chief Flynn should acknowledge his mistake and finally put the blame for Milwaukee’s violence on those who are really responsible—criminals who aren’t just violating gun laws, but laws against carjacking, armed robbery, home invasion and homicide.
Cam Edwards is the host of “Cam & Co.,” which airs live 2-5 p.m. EST on NRATV and midnight EST on SiriusXM Patriot 125. He lives with his family on a small farm near Farmville, Va. Follow him on Twitter and Instagram @camedwards.