No guns allowed where he works, but shootouts OK in other county buildings, sheriff says | Wis.Community

No guns allowed where he works, but shootouts OK in other county buildings, sheriff says

Milwaukee County Executive Chris Abele has sensibly proposed continuing a ban on carrying concealed weapons in county buildings, a decision the county can make despite a new concealed carry law which takes effect on Nov. 1.

Guess who disagrees?

The Lone Ranger, Sheriff David Clarke, who used to oppose concealed carry and said it would put his deputies in danger. Now he thinks people need weapons to shoot the bad guys.

Clarke wants people to be able to bring weapons into county buildings -- just not the ones he works in.

The new law prohibits weapons in the courthouse, safety building,jail and Mitchell airport. So Clarke will be safe; only law enforcement personnel can pack guns where he works.

Abele -- after checking with county department heads -- says he also wants to ban weapons in county park buildings, the Mental Health Complex, the zoo, senior centers, the public museum, and the Marcus Center for the Performing Arts.

The City of Milwaukee already has approved posting city buildings with "No weapons" signs. Abele's plan needs County Board approval. The Journal Sentinel

"Because I strongly support public safety, I believe that we have a responsibility to provide a safe environment for employees and visitors to county facilities," Abele said in a statement. "Allowing the carrying of concealed weapons would work against that goal."

"We want people to still be able to utilize county-owned facilities in as safe a manner as possible, while still complying" with the new state law, County Corporation Counsel Kimberly Walker said Thursday. "We are trying to take precautions to keep people safe."

Posting signs banning concealed weapons would only encourage someone bent on using a gun in a county building because it would let them know "nobody else inside will be armed," Clarke said. And putting metal detectors in every building would be too costly, he said.

"If a maniac with a gun enters a county building and starts spraying the place up, my hope would be that a law-abiding, license-carrying gun toter would be able to counter the shooter," the sheriff said.

Clarke did his about-face on the issue in 2007, as reported

Milwaukee County Sheriff David Clarke, who said a concealed weapons law would "jeapordize ths safety of my deputies and the citizens they represent," today said people of Milwaukee should be able to carry concealed handguns. Clarke's complete reversal came, as his pronouncements frequently do, in a hysterical email to rabid rightwing radio talker Charlie Sykes, a major Clarke sycophant and publicist.

At the end of a long rant against Gov. Jim Doyle, Mayor Tom Barrett, and Milwaukee aldermen, Clarke says:

If the police are no longer able to guarantee the personal safety of citizens, then reconsider your opposition to allowing law-abiding people the means with which to protect themselves. Yes, Governor, that means carrying concealed handguns.

Here's a Journal Sentinel story from Nov. 4, 2003:

Clarke calls for veto of concealed weapons bill

Sheriff tells Doyle in letter that change would put deputies in danger

Milwaukee County Sheriff David A. Clarke Jr. on Monday called on Gov. Jim Doyle to veto a bill that would make it easier for Wisconsin residents to carry concealed weapons.

In a letter to Doyle, Clarke says the change called for in the bill would jeopardize the "safety of my deputies and the citizens they represent" and says "there are better ways to fight crime than to flood the streets of Milwaukee with dangerous weapons." Today, Clarke says the best way to fight crime is to flood the streets of Milwaukee and county buildings with dangerous weapons.

Clarke had it right the first time. Putting more guns on the streets will not make Milwaukee safer. It will make it more dangerous.

He's out of step with most Wisconsin law enforcement officials, including the Wisconsin Sheriffs and Deputy Sheriffs Assn., the Wisconsin Chiefs of Police Assn., and the Wisconsin County Police Assn., all of whom oppposed concealed carry. Milwaukee County and the City of Milwaukee also opposed the law.

Polling has consistently shown that Milwaukee County citizens also oppose concealed carry and say they will feel less safe with people carrying weapons in public places.


October 6, 2011 - 1:31pm