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Under the Gun: The State of Gun Violence in Wis.Submitted: 02/13/2013
Story By Lyndsey Stemm


MILWAUKEE - Owning a gun is a right in America in a way that doesn't exist in any other part of the world.

It's also at the heart of a vibrant sporting culture we're very familiar with here in the Northwoods.

But other parts of the state have a more contentious relationship with guns.

Newswatch 12's Lyndsey Stemm was allowed to ride along with Milwaukee police officers. She sat down with the Chief of Police and the County Sheriff.

Up here in the North gun violence is statistically rare, but in some parts of Milwaukee, there's a battle going on between police and criminals.

"My God, there's 300 million weapons out there already," says Milwaukee Police Chief Edward Flynn.

Flynn's officers seize 2,000 of them every year from criminals.

Though Milwaukee can be portrayed as a hotbed of crime, in reality only eight percent of city territory accounts for 90 percent of its violent crime.

"There are different kinds of gun violence. And I think the tragedy in Newtown has certainly focused the attention of our citizens on one type of gun violence. And that is the low probability, high hazard event of a mass murder," says Flynn.

Milwaukee police have had to deal with two in just a few short months.

"Both Azana Spa and Sikh temple shooting put our bomb techs right on the front line," says Captain Jason Smith, Milwaukee Police Intelligence Commander.

"The other type of violence is hand gun-related, and central city-related. And it's very much the phenomenon of people who are engaged in criminal enterprises murdering each other," says Flynn.

"A lot of guns are taken in burglaries," says Timothy Keller, an officer with the Milwaukee Police Department Tactical Enforcement Unit.

It does happen. But only eight to ten percent of guns used in crimes are stolen. There are other methods criminals are using to get their hands on guns.

"If they're not stolen you can get the straw purchases. We'll see cases like that here in local gun stores," says Keller.

"What we found was a large number of women that were purchasing the guns and then they ended up in a felon's hands," says Dr. Mallory O'Brien, from the Milwaukee Homicide Review Commission.

That leaves law enforcement with the problem of how to keep criminals from getting guns, and finding the line between appropriate gun control and infringing on second amendment rights.

"The percentage of people who use firearms to commit violence, versus the overall population of gun owners... it's very small," says Milwaukee County Sheriff David Clarke.

"I think what you have to recognize, is where you stand on this issue often directly relates to where you live and your experience with firearms," says Flynn.

But people on the front lines dealing with gun violence agree it's not just a big city problem.

"Well it's not my problem. Well I guess it's not my problem if the right of an American to safety depends on their zip code, I guess It's not your problem," says Flynn.

Tomorrow we'll see how Chief Flynn and Sheriff Clarke think we should go about finding that balance between gun control and second amendment rights.

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 IN OTHER NEWS
What We're Working OnSubmitted: 02/24/2017

- Tonight on Newswatch 12:

About 4.2 inches of snow has fallen already as a winter storm warning is in effect until 6:00 AM Saturday. We'll keep you up to date and let you know what to expect until tomorrow morning.

If you think brushing the snow off your car is a hassle for you, just think about what it's like for car dealerships to brush off multiple cars. We'll take you to a Rhinelander auto dealer and find out how the process works.

We'll take you to Tomahawk to hear from local officials about their take of the Police seizures bill that Wisconsin legislatures are proposing.

We'll bring you the details on these stories and more tonight on Newswatch 12 - news from where you live.

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HAYWARD - Organizers of the American Birkebeiner ski race have canceled this year's event in northern Wisconsin.

A snow storm that's dumped more than 10 inches of snow in parts of Wisconsin since Thursday missed the Hayward and Cable area where the annual cross-country race is held. Officials say record high temperatures and rain recently have left the Birkie course unsafe for a race on Saturday.

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CHICAGO - A federal appeals court hears arguments in a pair of cases involving Wisconsin's voting laws.

The U.S. 7th Circuit Court of Appeals was hearing arguments Friday in the cases that involve Wisconsin's voter ID and early voting laws.

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Bartelt is one of the owners of the Tomahawk Speedway, and he and his crew have been working hard to get everything ready for the Winter Hatchet Nationals this weekend.

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MINOCQUA - People suffering from alcohol and drug addiction can now seek treatment at a new center in Minocqua.

The Family Health Center of Marshfield opened its new clinic Thursday.

The HOPE Consortium is a group of medical providers dedicated to treating addiction. 

FHC Executive Director Greg Nycz said they came together to make this center happen.

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RHINELANDER - Two Northwoods communities might trade their own ambulances for what Oneida County thinks will be a better combined service.

The county is asking Sugar Camp and Three Lakes to consolidate their ambulances for one, centrally located rig.  A new garage would go up near County Highway A on Thunder Lake Road between the two towns.

Oneida County Emergency Management Director Ken Kortenhof says that rig would be staffed 24/7 by the highest-level paramedic.  The two towns had a combined 365 calls for ambulance trips to the hospital last year.

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NORTHWOODS - Friday's snowstorm will keep student athletes on edge during their playoff games over the weekend. 

The girls' basketball playoffs continue on Friday, but if schools cancel games it could cause some problems on the court.

Lakeland is scheduled to play Mosinee at home on Friday.

If school gets canceled, Friday's game would move to Saturday and the regional final game would move to Sunday.

This leaves players with one fewer day to prepare for the sectional finals.

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