Police Chief Says National Gun Debate is Distraction for Milwaukee


by Michele McCormack

MILWAUKEE---When a convicted felon with a history of mental illness bought a gun from a friend and used that gun to nearly kill Police Officers Graham Kunish and Brian Norberg, many in law enforcement thought something would be done.

Chief Ed Flynn in particular.

 "I thought it was going to be a slam dunk to make straw purchases a felony," Chief Flynn told CBS 58 Anchor Michele McCormack.

But some three years later and the Chief is still waiting for action and concerned that the national debate on assault weapons bans and limits on magazine capacity may drown out what needs to be done at the local level.

"I think it's a necessary conversation," Flynn explains, "but I think it's distracting people from the real issue of daily violence that's going on in America."

Flynn says the three things that could be done by state lawmakers now that he thinks would make an impact on gun violence are:

Mandatory time for felons caught with guns. He points out that New York City didn't begin to make progress in fighting violent crime until a three year mandatory minimum sentence was imposed.

"Right now any criminal caught with a firearm goes home. That's a recipe for more violence."

Flynn would also like to see tighter restrictions on who can get a concealed carry permit in Wisconsin.

"Right now we've got a state law that defines a habitual offender as a one time felony conviction and three misdemeanors within two years. That will get you an enhanced sentence. Now, I've got this NRA sponsored permit law that says only convicted felons can't get a permit.  I've got drug dealers legally carrying a gun around Milwaukee. That's nutty."

Third, Flynn believes all gun purchases should be subject to background checks.

"My bad guys go out of town and buy, at a gun show, weapons legally. Bad guys with good guns purchased legally without a background check. We gotta stop that."

Flynn says he's gone to local lawmakers believing the state legislature can act faster than Congress.

"We've gone to them. We haven't' had any traction yet. We've got a legislative package in right now."


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