RACINE — The widow of a Racine delivery driver James Norris, who was gunned down on Racine’s north side in March 2016, is calling for a ban on hollow-point bullets that reportedly contributed to his death.
“The guy bought the ammunition from Walmart that killed him,” Stacy Blevins said. “You don’t buy hollow-point bullets unless you meant to kill him.”
According to Racine Police, Norris was shot to death March 25, 2016, in the 3900 block of Green Street. He was found in the street next to his car door at an apartment complex where he had just delivered food from his employer Super Steaks and Lemonade.
“Jimmy was shot three times,” Blevins said. “There was a bullet hole in the car door. The man destroyed my kids and my family.”
After an extensive year-long investigation that recovered the Smith and Wesson revolver and the ammunition in the original Walmart bag, Alex Adams, 28, of the same block of Green Street, was charged with felony first-degree intentional homicide and armed robbery.
Police said they obtained surveillance video from Walmart, 3049 S. Oakes Road, Mount Pleasant, allegedly showing Adams buying the jacketed hollow-point ammunition used in the crime.
“Why would you sell something like that?” Belvins said.
Blevins and Norris’ mother-in-law, Sandra Stravropoulos, want Walmart to stop selling the ammunition or do background checks for buyers.
“If they hadn’t sold the bullets that man would be alive. This has got to stop. They shouldn’t sell hollow-points,” Stravropoulos said.
In a statement to The Journal Times, Charles Crowson, a spokesman for the Arkansas-based retailer, said sales of hollow-point bullets will continue.
“The ammunition we carry is legal and in demand for self-defense and sport shooting among our customers. At this time, we don’t plan to remove the items,” Crowson said.
Wisconsin Democrats brought up the issue in 2013 following the Sandy Hook massacre in Connecticut captured the nation’s attention. Authorities said the shooter, Adam Lanza, wanted to use bullets designed to inflict the maximum amount of damage.
The 2013 Assembly Bill 221 sponsored by Milwaukee Democratic representatives Frederick Kessler and Christine Sinicki would have made possessing the bullets a Class H felony with up to three years in prison and a $10,000 fine.
According to the Legislative Reference Bureau, the bill prohibited “a person, with certain exceptions such as for law enforcement, from selling, transporting, manufacturing, or possessing any hollow-point bullet, any bullet that expands or flattens easily in the human body, or any bullet with a hard envelope that does not entirely cover the core of the bullet.”
“There was much more opposition to the proposal than I anticipated, including law enforcement officers, who said hollow-point bullets were less likely to go through a wall and kill innocent people than other bullets,” Kessler said.
The debate centered around the bullets that expand on impact, which do more damage and cause greater hemorrhaging, and the prey dies in a swifter, more humane manner.
Kessler, who is a former Milwaukee County Circuit Court judge and presided over homicide cases, argued at the time that banning such bullets would give a shooting victim in urban areas a better chance of survival.
“I talked to medical people who said they would be more likely be able to save the victim of a regular bullet than a hollow-point bullet because they’ll explode in the body,” Kessler said.
After a public outcry from the hunting community about the impact the ban would have on hunting, the bill failed to pass and died in committee.
“Shootings in schools doesn’t outrage the public anymore. I am very pessimistic that we can put some controls on the wild west atmosphere of handgun violence,” Kessler said.
Blevins still hopes that someday something can be done to ease the gun violence in the city.
“I need justice for Jimmy,” Blevins said.