This is a folow-up to a thread started a few weeks backGun store owner to stop giving range users' names to police - JSOnline
For nearly three years, the owners at Brew City Shooters Supply -- formerly known as Badger Guns -- were turning over the names of everyone who used the shooting range to West Milwaukee police.
Apparently, most of the users didn't know that, and a backlash prompted earlier this month has led owner Mike Allan to change his policy. Now, he said Friday, he will do background checks himself, using the state's online court records system and only report people he finds to be prohibited from having a firearm.
"Originally, our form was just a waiver of all rights," Allen said. "We updated the form. Now we say exactly who's doing the screening -- me. The information won't leave the store."
Allan took over the business from his brother, who lost his federal firearms license last year. Mike Allan only sold accessories and operated the range until he got own license recently, and is now trying to run the business on a membership basis. He said he was just responding to customer input.
"I definitely care about people's opinion and want to keep it all on the straight and narrow."
The blowback started after Nik Clark, president of Wisconsin Carry, Inc., a gun rights advocacy group, read about the former practice in a Journal Sentinel article late last month. He alerted members, and the issue became a hot topic on national gun rights and gun user blogs and national gun Web sites.
"Wisconsin Carry rejects the use of public resource to run background checks on law abiding citizens with no probable cause or reasonable suspicion whether those citizens were using a firing range, attending church, going to the grocery store, or stopping in a corner tavern for a cocktail," Clark wrote in a news letter.
In an interview, Clark said members were floored to learn they'd been subject to the checks, and he reached out to Allan to let him know just how people were reacting (though plenty of customers called Brew City themselves to complain).
"I told him, 'Mike, Smith & Wesson was driving to the brink of bankruptcy on something less than this (the company signed an agreement with the federal government to put locks on all its guns and impose extra security requirements on its dealers). Your gun owner customers are going to hate this. You need to walk away from this now or you'll be out of business.'"
This is the part of the story that really upset some gun range users:
(West Milwaukee Police Chief Dennis) Nasci's department started running background checks on everyone using the Badger Guns range in 2009, an arrangement that Adam Allan agreed to, though no law required him to do so.
Nasci said since late 2009, he has run more than 25,000 names of range users through his system. So far this year, he's ran more than 8,800 and come up with 47 people who required further investigation. A few of those were referred to prosecutors for illegal possession, Nasci said.
Clark said he's requested what records Nasci's department might still have from the many checks, and is concerned that the range customers might have been put through a national crime database.
Clark said Allan told him he's worried that if no longer provides the names of all gun range users to the police, they will force him out of business, but Allan said he hasn't heard from Nasci, and still plans to alert police whenever he finds someone using his range who's a felon of involved in domestic violence.
Nasci didn't return a message Friday.
Allan's change of heart on give records to police didn't come soon enough to save one sponsor of a veterans' event he had planned.
"These selfish rabble rousers went to such lengths to tarnish me, that through hate mail and intimidation they were able to get the House of Harley to back out of my charitable event for the Wounded Warrior Project," Allan wrote on the Brew City Shooters Web site.
Allan said he's still going to donate half of all range revenue this coming weekend to the project, but there won't be a band or food as originally planned.