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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: 01/19/2018

- Tonight on Newswatch 12:

DNR wardens will start increasing patrols on snowmobile trails in the Northwoods, especially in Iron and Price counties. We talk to a warden supervisor about the number of accidents the last two weeks and how the wardens plan to minimize the accidents.

We'll show you how a new tool for the Woodruff Fire Department will help extinguish a fire even before firefighters arrive at the scene.

And tonight on Friday Night Blitz we'll bring you scores from high school games all across North Central Wisconsin as well as highlights from the following basketball games:

Girls:

Crandon vs. Laona-Wabeno

D.C. Everest vs. Merrill

Mosinee vs. Rhinelander


Boys:

Rhinelander vs. Mosinee



That will be tonight on Friday Night Blitz at the end of Newswatch 12 at 10.

We'll bring you this and more tonight on Newswatch 12 - news from where you live.

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MADISON - Governor Scott Walker plans to issue two executive orders to fight opioid abuse.

The governor plans to sign the orders Friday afternoon in Eau Claire.

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GREEN BAY - The case against a man accused of ramming cars at Lambeau Field will go forward.

A preliminary hearing for Chay Vang was held Thursday.

He's facing seven charges, including recklessly endangering safety.

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THREE LAKES - A new program at the Three Lakes School District gives students a chance to test drive their future careers.
The mentorship program lets students shadow a professional for a day.
Juniors and seniors can work with professionals in fields they're interested in.
Senior Maggie Servent is one of the ten students in the program.

She shadowed a pharmacist in Eagle River.
" I'm a little more at ease knowing that this is definitely something I'm going to enjoy once I get out into the real world and have this job," said Servent. 

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EAGLE RIVER - The World Championship Derby started as a small oval racetrack on Dollar Lake.

The race began back in 1964 thanks to Chanticleer Inn's John and Betty Alward.

They wanted a way to keep business up during the slow winter season for themselves and fellow resort owners.

Their son Jake still runs the inn and remembers the excitement behind the "newness" of the sport.

"Every factory wanted their machine first! Money was not the object… it was getting the right machine the right equipment….The right this and that. People flew to Minneapolis to get and engine or a part!" says Alward.

The 55th World Championship Derby is this weekend.

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MADISON - Preliminary estimates show unemployment in Wisconsin reached a record low in December.

The state Department of Workforce Development released figures Thursday that show the unemployment rate in December was 3 percent. That's a record for December and matches the lowest rate on record.

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MEDFORD - Wednesday night, police spent nearly five hours trying to talk down a man who had a gun and barricaded himself inside of a home in Medford.

Jake Wendt, 31, recently moved to Medford from Rhinelander. He was living with his girlfriend and her child.

Police went to that home just before 5 p.m. after receiving a call about a man with a gun. According to a press release, the caller said a man (who turned out to be Wendt) had a handgun with two women and a child inside a home on Medford's east side.

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