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Under the Gun: Milwaukee County Sheriff David ClarkeSubmitted: 02/15/2013
Story By Lyndsey Stemm

Under the Gun: Milwaukee County Sheriff David Clarke
MILWAUKEE - Milwaukee County Sheriff David Clarke thinks homeowners should protect themselves with guns.

That's not something a lot of top law enforcement officers say, but Sheriff Clarke is not just any law enforcement officer.

Newswatch 12's Lyndsey Stemm met up with the Sheriff while she studied gun violence in Wisconsin's biggest city.

Sheriff David Clarke has made headlines for nearly two years now for his view's on gun control. And as you'll see he's quite unapologetic about them.

Most recently he got national attention for a PSA on Milwaukee radio stations.

"I'm Sheriff David Clarke and I want to talk to you about something personal: your safety. It's no longer a spectator sport, I need you in the game. But are you ready?", says Clarke on the PSA.

Sheriff Clarke is serving his third four-year term in Milwaukee. He's been an outspoken critic of gun-control suggestions by the Milwaukee Police Chief, and the President.

"I trust law abiding people with guns. I trust them to make good decisions. The data is that the overwhelming majority of them do not use guns to commit crimes. So why do we want to focus on the wrong thing?" says Clarke.

It's a notion echoed by a powerful gun rights lobby you may have heard of.

"Gun control sounds nice. The fact is it's not so nice. Because all it does is put an increased burden on people who hunt, on people who need firearms, or want firearms for self-protection. They're the ones who follow the law," says National Rifle Association President David Keene.

Clarke says Milwaukee's gun violence problem is out of hand because the police and judicial system aren't on the same page.

"There's a lot of plea-bargaining, a lot of watered down prosecutions, a lot of horse trading that goes on. And that sends a message to the criminal element that, 'yeah I know we talk tough but in the end we don't back that action up'. Over time, when people realize, 'Guess what I got caught with a gun I'm going to the joint for six years, I'm going to the joint because I'm charged federally, I'm going away for ten years," says Clarke.

He says that's when things will start changing on the street. And he has a few ideas on how to make that happen.

"All felony possession of firearms, every one, should go to the federal government, not state court. In state court I believe the sentence is six years maximum, and they're not getting anywhere near that. In the federal it's ten, period," says Clarke.

After the Sandy Hook Elementary shooting Clark called for armed security in all schools and public places. Clarke ran for Sheriff as a democrat. His warnings about disarming the public and not being tough enough on gun criminals sound a lot like the NRA's.

"You know first of all that your pool of victims is unarmed. Because they've complied with the law. They're law abiding people and they don't have guns. What else do you know? If you use a gun to go after them, you don't get any additional punishment for doing it," says Keene.

Clarke says legislation doesn't change things on the street. He doesn't buy into the idea that making things like straw purchases and illegal gun possession automatic felonies will make any difference.

"Yeah, I'd support that, but it isn't going to do any good. See we're looking for that technical fix; we're working on the wrong thing. What we have to do is get the judiciary and the prosecutor to say, 'Ok straw purchase, ten years.' Now that doesn't mean automatic ten years. In one case, the person got four days," says Clarke.

So what about that public service announcement that caused a national stir? Clarke says he was trying to get people to take responsibility for their personal safety since his budget was cut by $17 million in two years.

"With officers laid-off and furloughed simply calling 911 and waiting is no longer your best option. You can beg for mercy from a violent criminal, hide under the bed, or you can fight back. But are you prepared? Consider taking a certified safety course in handling a firearm so you can protect yourself until we get there," says Clarke on his PSA.

"If you're inside your home and the wolf is at the door, yeah, call 911; I'd recommend that. But I'm trying to prepare people, and leverage the fact that they have the means to defend themselves, and work with them and say, 'Hey here's some things to think about'," says Clarke.

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 IN OTHER NEWS
What We're Working OnSubmitted: 11/17/2017

- Tonight on Newswatch 12:

We'll bring you the latest on a shooting that took place on West Mohawk Drive in Tomahawk Thursday evening. Police found and arrested the suspect near Eau Claire.

We talk to a registered sanitarian from the Vilas County Health Department about how to avoid getting sick from your Thanksgiving turkey.

And tonight on Friday Nights Blitz the Blitz team announces the winners of this year's Fall Awards in local high school sports.

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

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ROSENDALE, WI - An explosion and fire at a cheese plant in Fond du Lac County sent one person to the hospital.

The sheriff's office says 36-year-old Travis Klotzbach, of Brandon, was using a cutting torch on an empty 55-gallon barrel in the auto shop at Knaus Cheese near Rosendale when the explosion happened just after 7 a.m. Friday.

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RHINELANDER - The Rhinelander Salvation Army hopes to raise $40,000 in its bell ringing campaign again this year. It reached that goal during the holidays a year ago.

Volunteers kicked off the bell ringing drive at Trig's and Shopko on Friday. Eighty-six percent of money raised stays in the Rhinelander area to help families in emergencies.

"We're very excited that we're keeping our goal at 40 (thousand dollars) this year, and we're hoping that people are continuing to be generous in helping us reach that goal," Rhinelander Salvation Army Kettle Coordinator Kim Swisher said. "People are friendly, they're excited, they're like, 'Oh, it's bell ringing time!' [That] always means the holidays. We're excited about that."

You'll see volunteers at Trig's and Shopko through the holidays. Bell ringing starts at Walmart next week.

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TOMAHAWK - The rain didn't stop a big crowd from going to an event that's become tradition.
The Tomahawk Chamber of Commerce hosted its 52nd Venison Feed.

 It kicks off the gun deer hunting season which starts tomorrow. 
 
You'll find grill master Gregg Albert at the same spot this year as he has for decades.

"From what we know it's one of the last in the country that even exist.

If I had to say one word it would be tradition," said Albert. 

The Tomahawk Chamber of Commerce's 52nd Venison Feed brought out some old timers and some newbies to kick off the start of the deer hunting season. 

Albert's grilled for about 33 years. 

I found Rhinelander's Steve Norman's on his sixth free venison burger. 

"Sweet it's good. I'm on my last one," said Norman.

He's not a hunter.

"I just fish like heck," said Norman. 

However, Norman still gets a lot out of the celebration. 

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EAGLE RIVER - Americans eat more than 46 million turkeys on Thanksgiving Day. That much thawing, handling, and cooking of turkeys means people can make mistakes.

The Vilas County Public Health Department wants to help people avoid exposing themselves to dangerous bacteria. It says frozen turkeys should always be thawed in the refrigerator or under running water.

"You don't want to set them out on your countertop for any amount of time to thaw them because that's when they're going to be in the 'danger zone.' The 'danger zone' is between 40 and 140 [degrees Fahrenheit], and that's when pathogens can grow," said Vilas County Registered Sanitarian Amy Springer.

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TOMAHAWK -
UPDATE: The suspected shooter from a homicide in Tomahawk has been identified as Eric Lee Moen, 32.  Tomahawk Police Chief Al Elvins confirmed Moen is being held in the Lincoln County Jail for a 1st-degree intentional homicide charge.

The Lincoln County Clerk of Courts reports Moen is being held on a $1 million cash bond.  He has yet to appear in court, but an initial appearance has been set for Monday at 1:30 p.m.

Online court records show Moen was convicted of various traffic offenses.  He was also convicted of misdemeanor battery in Portage County from a 2002 case.

Elvins plans to release more information Friday afternoon.




Tomahawk police identified the victim in the city's first shooting homicide in years.  Friday morning, Police Chief Al Elvins announced Charles K. Ramp, 52, was shot and killed outside his home on W. Mohawk Drive Thursday night.

Police arrested the suspected shooter, a 32-year-old man from Wausau, but did not identify him.  The suspect was found about 130 miles away in Lake Hallie, which is near Eau Claire.

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ANTIGO - Blaze orange and camouflage swarmed the front of Mills Fleet Farm in Antigo this morning.

People started lining up for Orange Friday 2017 around 4 a.m. for free hats and gift scratch offs!

More than 500 people filed in as the doors opened at 6 a.m.

The line didn't slow down for 15 minutes after that.

Many customers came to grab last-minute hunting gear including hunting licenses.

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