Wauwatosa lawyer arrested on gun charges

Published on: 8/16/2011

A Wauwatosa lawyer has been arrested by police investigating illegal gun sales, after he paid an informant $400 for two purportedly stolen guns and an illegal silencer at Mayfair mall, according to court records.

Thomas Michael Barrett, 53, is being held at the Milwaukee County Jail on $15,000 bail. Formal charges were pending Monday.

According to an affidavit from Milwaukee police officer Dean Newport in support of a search warrant:

A confidential informant told Newport that Barrett was known to buy and resell stolen guns. Investigators set up a meeting Friday outside Mayfair mall at which the informant showed Barrett two guns he said had been stolen from a felon, but were in fact functional "prop guns."

Barrett described one of the guns as "highly, highly, highly illegal" and a "hit man's gun" because of the attached silencer. He paid for the guns, put them in containers in his car and was then arrested by police watching the transaction.

Upon his arrest, Barrett told police he was a gun collector and gun rights advocate who had 15-20 collector guns at home in safes.

Barrett "stated he is in a realm and that he knows it's a big problem and that we (Police) probably knew what happened," according to the affidavit.

Possessing a silencer is punishable by up to three years in prison, plus three years of extended supervision.

According to an online lawyers biography, Barrett got his law degree from Northern Illinois University in 1990. He joined the Illinois bar that year and the Wisconsin bar in 1991. His practice focused on real estate,  personal injury and business law. His office is located at 12215 W. Blue Mound Road.