Two years since the Sikh Temple shooting: Have gun laws changed?

OAK CREEK (WITI) -- Tuesday, August 5th marks a somber anniversary in southeastern Wisconsin. It was two years ago that a white supremacist gunman opened fire on peaceful worshipers at the Sikh Temple in Oak Creek. Six were killed.

Shortly after the tragedy there were calls for gun control and crime prevention from residents and leaders, including Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett, Milwaukee police chief Ed Flynn, and even President Barack Obama. Two years after the shooting, however, gun laws have not changed.

"The families of Oak Creek, and Tucson, and Blacksburg, and the countless other communities ripped open by gun violence, they deserve a simple vote," said President Obama.

Chief Flynn testified in Congress, calling for stricter gun control measures. By April, 2013 a plan to expand background checks and a proposal to ban sales of some semi-automatic weapons failed in Congress and the state legislature never took up the topic.

Mayor Barrett was one of the first members of "Mayors Against Illegal Guns."

"Two years ago we had hoped to see universal background checks as a result of these terrible tragedies. Up through now, we have seen no activity at the state or the federal level," said Barrett.

Since the Oak Creek tragedy, there have been 15 other mass shootings in the United States.

Former Oak Creek police officer Brian Murphy, who was shot 15 times during the incident, cautions against using the Sikh Temple incident as an example of the need for gun control.

"You can make all the measures you want, but my shooter, the Sikh Temple shooter, would have passed any background check and would have gotten a weapon," said Lt. Murphy.

Milwaukee Sheriff David Clarke, a prominent Wisconsin conservative, as made the same argument, saying increased restrictions only hurt law-abiding citizens.

"We're going to crack down? Put down the gun? Those are platitudes. These violent criminals are not going to put any guns down," said Sheriff Clarke.

The president of gun rights advocacy group Wisconsin Carry says the anniversary should not be used to press any political agendas.

"I think it's shameful to use a crisis like this, a tragedy like this, to promote solutions that wouldn't solve the problem," said Nik Clark.

Gun control advocates say they hope this anniversary will again put the spotlight on what they call a problem facing all of society.

"I'm going to keep doing what I can to make sure guns don't get into the hands of felons, but we've got  a governor and a legislature who don't treat that as a priority whatsoever," said Mayor Barrett.

The Sikh community seems to be split on the issue like the rest of the state. Amardeep Kaleka, the son of one of the victims, is running for Congress on a gun control platform. Other temple members have purchased guns and received their concealed carry permits.