Under the Gun: Milwaukee Police Chief Flynn on Gun ControlSubmitted: 02/14/2013
Story By Lyndsey Stemm

MILWAUKEE - Whatever happens on the state level regarding gun control, you can bet law enforcement in Milwaukee will have a say in it.

That's why we sent Newswatch 12's Lyndsey Stemm to Milwaukee to speak with Police Chief Edward Flynn, and County Sheriff David Clarke.

The Chief and Sheriff famously, and quite vocally, disagree on many things... and gun control is no exception.

Both sat down with us to share their personal philosophies. Tonight we bring you Chief Flynn.

Milwaukee Police Chief Flynn says he's been desperate for legislators to help him address gun violence in his city.

"I have been on the record saying I didn't think there was anything horrible enough that could happen in this country that would give our politicians the moral courage to entertain the discussion. Maybe 20 dead babies is it," says Flynn, referring to the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting.

Flynn believes gun control is an issue in American Politics that seems to be immune from rational discussion. But he still has a city to protect.

"The great challenge for the city and the police departments, is how do we disarm criminals," says Flynn.

Ironically one of the things making it difficult for the police to deter criminals from gun crime, is the law.

"It just boggles my mind no matter how many times you're caught with a gun in the state of Wisconsin if you're not a felon, it's a misdemeanor every single time," says Timothy Keller, a Milwaukee Police Department Tactical Enforcement Unit Officer.

"It's a joke. Right now for my career criminals it's more dangerous to get caught without a gun than to get caught with their gun," says Flynn.

Jeri Bonavia from the Wisconsin Anti-Violence Effort was part of Vice President Biden's task force that developed some of President Obama's proposed gun control legislation. She sides with Flynn in wanting tougher qualifications to own a weapon.

"No matter how many times you've been arrested and convicted of violent misdemeanants you still qualify to purchase a gun in this state," says Bonavia.

"The other thing we need; we need it to be a felony to straw purchase. If you go in there and buy a gun from your boyfriend the felon, you should know you're going to go to jail," says Flynn.

Flynn says things like universal background checks is something law-abiding people should be willing to put up with to limit victimization. He says no constitutional right is immune from regulation.

"We've made free speech work, and prevented libel. We've made freedom of religion work, and we've prevented human sacrifice. Can we not figure out a way to make the individual right to own firearms and protect yourselves work in such a way as to place some reasonable limitations on the wrong people?" says Flynn.

The theory that arming more citizens will keep criminals at bay doesn't sit well with him.

"All I'd like to see is our elected officials and citizens decide mutually that this issues is not beyond us; that we don't throw up our hands and say the only solution to crime in this city, or the only solution to mad med with semi-automatic firearms, is more firearms," says Flynn.

He says he's not laboring under the belief that his ideas can solve gun crimes completely.

"What I believe is that we can make murder more difficult in the city, and we can make mass murder more difficult. We'll never eliminate either; I know that, we all know that. The challenge is can we make it harder for the wrong people to get access to firearms and use them," says Flynn.

Flynn began as Police Chief in Milwaukee in 2008, and was sworn in for his second term last year.

The Chief represents one side of the gun control debate. Tomorrow we'll have Milwaukee County Sheriff David Clarke, who has very different opinions on the subject.

Text Size: + Increase | Decrease -
| Print Story | Email Story
Sponsored in part by HodagSports.com


MOUNT HOREB - A southern Wisconsin school district has cancelled plans for elementary school students to read a children's book about a transgender girl after a group threatened to sue.

The Capital Times reports (http://bit.ly/1TadnaG ) that the Mount Horeb Area School District released a statement saying it won't proceed with its planned reading of "I Am Jazz."

Parents were told last week that Mount Horeb Primary Center students would read the book because one student identifies as a girl but was born with male anatomy.

A Florida-based group, the Liberty Counsel, threatened to sue, saying concerned parents had reached out and that reading the book would violate parental rights.

The Southern Poverty Law Center classifies the Liberty Counsel as a hate group that advocates for "anti-LGBT discrimination, under the guise of religious liberty."

+ Read More

TOMAH - The Tomah Veterans Affairs Medical Center says it has adopted another plan to improve patient care.

The La Crosse Tribune reports (http://bit.ly/1QMsDMZ) that Friday's release of the "100-day plan" comes almost 11 months after media reports that veterans at the center were prescribed excessive doses of opioid pain-killers and that employees who spoke out faced retaliation from top officials.

The plan, which follows a 30-day plan announced in May, outlines steps for improving access to care, employee engagement and restoring trust.

Among other things, it calls for recruitment of psychiatric staff, employee forums and listening sessions, and opening an employee wellness center.

Several Tomah VA officials including former Director Mario Desanctis and former Chief of Staff David Houlihan have been fired since the problems emerged early this year.

+ Read More

WAUSAU - This has been Wisconsin's deadliest gun-deer season in the past five years, with two shooting fatalities already recorded.

Daily Herald Media reports (http://wdhne.ws/1HvNth3 ) that the two fatalities brought to an end a three-year series of seasons that had been free of firearm deaths. Four other hunters also have been wounded.

According to the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, hunters violated some of the fundamental rules of gun safety in all the incidents.

A man was killed last Sunday in Columbia County when he was shot while passing a loaded rifle to a companion in a tree stand. Wearing mittens, she grabbed the gun near the trigger and it went off. On Monday, a hunter in Waushara County was killed by a stray bullet.

The nine-day season runs through Sunday.

+ Read More

APPLETON - The U.S. Marshals Service says a convicted sex offender who was wanted for violating the terms of his release has been arrested in Appleton.

The agency says 63-year-old L.C. Streeter, of Milwaukee, was previously convicted of four separate sexual assaults from 1976 to 1985. Wisconsin committed him as a sexually violent person in 1996, and he remained in treatment until his release in 2013 under intensive supervision.

The service said in a statement that he cut off his GPS and electronic monitoring bracelets and fled supervision on Monday, resulting in a warrant for his arrest. Federal marshals and Appleton police arrested him without incident in Appleton on Friday.

Kevin Carr, the U.S. marshal for eastern Wisconsin, says Streeter was "an absolute danger to the community based upon his past convictions."

+ Read More

MAUSTON - Authorities are investigating the death of a person who was found unresponsive in Decorah Lake early Friday.

Kyle Lynch, the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources warden for Juneau County, says he was called to the scene to assist in a boat search about 1:30 a.m. He also says the Mauston Fire Department recovered the body, which was found in the water.

The Mauston Police Department says attempts were made to rescue the individual, but the Juneau County Coroner's Office pronounced the individual dead at the scene. Police have provided few other details, and the victim's name has not been released.

Mauston is about 70 miles northwest of Madison.

+ Read More

Play Video

RHINELANDER - People deposited more than just money at a Rhinelander bank Friday morning.  A blood drive at People's State Bank allowed donors to double down on what they gave.

Nurses from the Community Blood Center took donations from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. as part of the "Give a Pint, Give a Pound" blood drive.  For every pint donated, the Blood Center will give a pound of food to the Lakeland Food Pantry.

+ Read More

Play Video

TOMAHAWK - Here in Northern Wisconsin, you can find Christmas trees just about anywhere you look.

Other parts of the country aren't so lucky.

That's why a forestry and real estate consulting company in Tomahawk sends the perfect pines, spruces, and firs to those who really need them.

+ Read More
+ More General News

Click Here