City leaders take aim at tougher gun laws on felons, criminals

MILWAUKEE (WITI) -- Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett, along with Milwaukee Police Chief Ed Flynn, are sending a message to Wisconsin lawmakers with the goal of keeping guns out of the hands of felons.

A two-year-old boy is one of the latest victims of gun violence in Milwaukee. Although the bullets were intended for someone else, City leaders say it's time for a change.

"If you're in the criminal lifestyle right now,  you're more afraid to get caught without a gun then caught with it," said Chief Flynn.

Chief Flynn and Mayor Barrett met with Governor Scott Walker Friday morning, April 11th, asking him to support new legislation that would prevent felons from getting guns, as well as habitual criminals from getting gun permits.

"Right now, in Wisconsin, no matter how many times you are arrested for illegally carrying a firearm, it remains a misdemeanor," said Chief Flynn.

Flynn believes the penalties for the misdemeanor crimes aren't enough of a deterrent for criminals.

"We're willing to work with the chief and other law enforcement, not only here in Milwaukee, but across the state, on ways we can address keeping guns out of the hands of criminals," said Gov. Walker.

Flynn says he's disagreed with earlier drafts of the legislation that ultimately fizzled in Madison. He also believes it could be difficult to get police chiefs, district attorneys and citizens in rural areas on board with the potential change.

"What we're doing has nothing to do with the law-abiding gun owners' rights. It has everything to do with the easy access to firearms of career criminals," said Chief Flynn.

Both Flynn and Barrett are hopeful lawmakers will take up the issue once again, and it seems Gov. Walker is willing to hear more when the time comes.

"It has not made its way through the legislative process so far this session. It's something we'll work with them on in the future," said Gov. Walker.

Chief Flynn says there has been some recent progress getting weapons out of the wrong hands -- his officers have seized 500 guns in the last three months.