“How does [open carry] impact policing?” themarshallproject.org asked Milwaukee’s Police Chief Ed Flynn [above]. “I’m a New Yorker, and in New York City,” the unnamed interviewer reveals, “if you walk around with a gun showing, you’re going to be in a lot of trouble very quickly.”
Chief Flynn responded thusly:
Yes, well that’s true wherever I’ve lived as well. The law is, quite simply, lunacy. It’s lunacy in an urban environment. These laws get passed overwhelmingly for ideological reasons, and, marginally to offer comfort to people who live in rural areas, where everyone knows everyone, and where the casual carrying of a hunting-style weapon no doubt causes little alarm . . .
It’s a foolish, reckless law in an urban situation. Legislatures that pass these laws could not care less about the violence in the cities. Couldn’t care less, because they perceive cities to be populated by people who wouldn’t vote for them anyway.
Color me confused. Not about Chief Flynn’s opposition to Americans’ natural, civil and Constitutionally protected right to keep and bear arms. That’s standard big city police stuff from a cop who obviously grew up and worked in big (i.e. liberal) cities. One who considers “downstate” voters heartless, insufferable hicks.
I’m wondering if Chief Flynn thinks it would be OK for folks in rural areas to break a law against open carry because everyone knows everyone. That seems pretty . . . casual. But there’s nothing casual about Chief Flynn’s antipathy towards open carry. He’s mad as hell.
Are you hopeful this [open carry law] will change?
No. Not at all. Nope. I mean, you can’t kill enough babies [to change the politics of guns]. I don’t think you can kill enough police officers. Despite these dreadful casualties, nope, they’re not going to change.
Sure. Open carriers are killing babies and cops. That happens just about every day. As I said, a happy camper he is not. F-bomb!
It’s very depressing to spend as long as I have in law enforcement, and be involved in this fight, and just be defeated [on gun control] constantly. This isn’t just pessimism. We’ve been suffering defeat, after defeat, after defeat.
A lot of law enforcement frustration with the Black Lives Matter movement type issues isn’t nay-saying people’s rights to be concerned, fearful, or want accountability, it’s that that’s the only thing anybody talks about even now.
We’ve been trying to get attention to the crime in the cities issue for years. State legislatures don’t care about it. Congress doesn’t care about it. Nobody cares about it. We’re left dealing with it, and the vast majority of department and individual cops are trying the best they can.
This thing breaks, and boy we’ve got 10,000 people on the streets about the cops. Where the fuck are they when we need them to change the kind of laws that are giving us record body counts? That’s a genuine, sincere angst that I see when police chiefs meet.
Angst for the memories, Chief Flynn! Maybe it’s time to join so many of your fellow big city police chiefs in retirement? Sounds like Chief Flynn is ready for a push to accomplish that feat.
Do you think other police chiefs share your sentiment?
You pick your target. Obviously, attitudes are affected by regional differences, but if you’re in a major city chiefs meeting, and we’re talking about this, there may be some differences about how much gun control is really needed, but there isn’t much. I haven’t seen much dissent about this notion about the assault weapons among the major city chiefs. The ones that police jurisdictions characterized by diversity and violence, they’re very frustrated.
Garry McCarthy, who got fired in Chicago, was one of the most vocal, passionate guys on this issue that I know. So was Tony Batts, who got thrown out in Baltimore. These guys are trying hard in polluted political environments, and in neighborhoods that were suffering from generations of crappy politics, as well as violence. Of course they’re going to be the first ones thrown over to the side.