Guns in the City

So what’s the effect of closing Koscielski’s store? “As far as I’m concerned, it’s cut off a good source of intel for the police,” the detective said. Koscielski hasn’t sold a gun in Minneapolis since July 1, 2005. “Has that stopped the violence in Minneapolis? Of course not,” said Mike. “But society has to blame somebody for the violence. I understand the aggravation, but it’s really some politicians saying, ‘We closed the store so we’re getting guns off the street.’ When you insert politics, common sense goes out the window.”

“City people are the victims of crimes. Since the city has put me out of business, all they have done is make the prices higher at other shops. That just makes it harder for city people who need protection to afford guns,” said Koscielski.

Koscielski has a point. In the first three months of this year, Minneapolis police have issued 304 permits to purchase a handgun. Since 2003, when the carry permit legislation passed, Minneapolis has issued more than 4,000 permits to purchase a handgun. The Hennepin County Sheriff granted 300 permits to carry a pistol to Minneapolis residents during 2005. Since 2003, Hennepin County has issued more than 4,000 carry permits. In the first three months of this year alone, the county has received 444 applications for a carry permit. Either the city- or county-issued permit entitles a person to purchase a pistol legally. Many of those people have gone to Bill’s Robbinsdale store, only eight blocks outside of the Minneapolis city limits.

Mike Nielsen lives in Linden Hills. He is tall, blond, and Scandinavian handsome. He’s fit and looks like he can handle himself. Indeed, he practices both yoga and martial arts. He is a mortgage broker with a winning smile. He guffawed as he described himself. “I’m a self-admitted right-wing gun-toting wacko.”

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