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

Under the Gun: The State of Gun Violence in Wis.
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: 07/25/2017

- Tonight on Newswatch 12:

We'll take you live to the Vilas County Town of Cloverland where concerned citizens will meet to discuss the possibility of a convicted sex offender moving into their neighborhood.

Drivers on U.S. Highway 51 in Lincoln County may soon see some lane closures while crews work on some of the bridges. We'll tell you what work will be done on the bridges and how long drivers can expect to see those lane closures.

And we'll show you a week long creative arts camp in Woodruff where 5 local women artists want to share their artistic opportunities with children.

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

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ANTIGO - Langlade County takes pride in having a long-standing and successful County Fair.

In fact, the 131st annual fair will open on Wednesday.

On Monday, workers were in preparation mode. Within a few days, the fairgrounds will be ready to welcome thousands of visitors to the free fair.

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EAGLE RIVER - "Just a lot of fun to fly," said Eagle River Union Airport manager Rob Hom.

Hom loves to share his passion for flying with others.
"There's nothing like it in the whole world," said Hom.

Hom has attended the Experimental Aircraft Association "Air Venture" in Oshkosh since 2002.

"It is truly an amazing experience," said Hom.

The EAA is an international organization of aviation enthusiasts with more than 200,000 members.

"What you see is thousands and thousands of airplanes," said Hom.

Hom wanted to share his passion for planes along with the experience of going to the largest plane show in the world.

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VILAS COUNTY - When Dee Burlingame walks into the Sayner Cemetery, she walks to the very back of it, near the wooded area.

"When we bought that plot we did so laughing and saying that the deer would come and run across us," said Burlingame.

Dee and her husband of more than 34 years, John Burlingame, have called Sayner their home for many years, even though they met in Cleveland, Ohio. But about a year ago, Dee's life took an unexpected turn.

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GLEASON - A church volunteer in Lincoln County noticed something was not right on Friday.

Vandals struck the church in Gleason - spreading paint on the walls and even painting a satanic symbol.

The church is a historic site and isn't used regularly.

This isn't the first time the Estonian Church in the Town of Schley has been vandalized.

It's actually the third documented complaint to come from the church in the past year.

Complaints included theft, removal of doors, breaking of property and vandalism.

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RHINELANDER - Volunteers will walk the streets of the Northwoods late at night this week.  They're looking for homeless people, hoping their count gets people the help they need.

The count is part of a statewide effort that happens twice a year.  Northern Wisconsin Initiative to Stop Homelessness -- or N*WISH -- runs the count for Oneida, Vilas, Forest, and Langlade counties.

Program facilitator Lori Hallas says her teams usually don't find many people.

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GREEN BAY - A police officer from the Green Bay area remains in critical condition after being hit by a car.

Ashwaubenon Officer Brian Murphy underwent surgery for injuries received when he was hit along Interstate 41.

On Saturday night, Murphy was struck by an apparent drunk driver while standing at the scene of a car fire.

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