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Mayor Barrett, Chief Flynn back increased penalty for gun carrying "violent" felons

A bill in Madison could establish a required minimum sentence for jail time if a felon is caught with a handgun, something city leaders in Milwaukee are pushing for.

Tuesday, Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett and Milwaukee Police Chief Ed Flynn spoke to legislators about why they believe the bill needs support.

Afterward Flynn said this bill is an essential first step to stopping gun violence in Milwaukee, but is not the final solution.

\"I think it will have impact on convicted felons, that's not the biggest slice of my offending population. The biggest slice of my offending population is those who have been convicted two, three, and four times of misdemeanors but are still allowed to carry a gun lawfully.\" Flynn said.

This bill has bipartisan support. Oconomowoc Republican Joel Kleefisch is working with Milwaukee Democrat LaTonya Johnson on the bill. Both representatives tell CBS 58 they believe the Assembly will vote on the bill next month.

This bill has Milwaukee Democrats divided. Johnson has support from a handful, but others have said they will not support the bill.

Johnson says lack of unanimous caucus support has not played a factor in her going forward with this bill, \"For me this was not optional. I was elected to serve and protect the people of Milwaukee and that's what I'm going to do.\"

Representative Daniel Riemer (D-Milwaukee) wrote in an email, “Decades of evidence show that locking more people up for longer periods of time has not dramatically reduced crime rates. Both Republicans and Democrats are beginning to recognize that we lock up far too many Americans for far too long. It is costing our state too much—in dollars, in families torn apart, and in diminished job prospects for the many men and women who do time. While the legislature certainly needs to play a role in the changes that will reduce gun violence, more criminal penalties and more incarceration in the form of mandatory minimum penalties might not be the answer.”

According to the Wisconsin Legislative Reference Bureau:

\"Current law generally prohibits a person from possessing a firearm if he or she has been convicted of a felony, found not guilty of a felony by reason of mental disease or defect, or adjudicated delinquent for an act that if committed by an adult in this state would be a felony. A person who violates the prohibition is guilty of a felony and is subject to a fine of up to $25,000 or a term of imprisonment of up to ten years, or both.

Under this bill, if the person was convicted of certain violent felonies and violates the prohibition on possessing a firearm, he or she must be sentenced to at least three years of confinement in prison. If the person is convicted of using a firearm to commit certain violent Class A to Class G felonies, he or she must be sentenced to at least five years of confinement in prison. If a person is convicted of using a firearm to commit certain violent Class H or Class I felonies, he or she must be sentenced to at least three years or at least one year and six months, respectively, of confinement in prison. The bill contains a sunset provision that eliminates the mandatory minimum period of confinement for sentences imposed on or after July 1, 2020.\"

View the entire bill at this link.

?The bill defines \"violent felon\" as anyone convicted of the following offenses:
  • Car-jacking (old statute)
  •  1st Deg. Homicide
  •  1st Deg. Reckless Homicide
  •  Felony Murder
  • 2nd Deg. Int. Homicide
  • 2nd Deg. Reckless Homicide
  •  Homicide by reckless handling of firearm, explosive or fire
  •  Homicide, Intoxicated Driving or Shooting
  •  Vehicular Homicide, Negligent
  • Aggravated, Substantial Battery
  • Aggravated, Substantial Battery to unborn child
  • Battery, special circumstances—on law enforcement, jurors, school employees, EMTs, transit operators
  •  Battery or threat to Witness
  •  Battery or threat to Judge
  •  Mayhem
  • Sexual Assault
  • Reckless Injury
  •  Strangulation and suffocation
  • Abuse of at-risk individuals
  • Abuse of residents of penal facilities
  • Abuse of patients or residents
  • False Imprisonment
  • Human Trafficking
  • Taking Hostages
  • Kidnapping
  •  Witness Intimidation
  •  Victim Intimidation
  •  Endangering safety by use of dangerous weapon
  • Use of Machine guns, bombs, grenades, etc.
  • Sawed-off shotgun possession
  •  Possession of a weaponized drone
  • Recklessly endangering safety
  •  Felony food, drug, household item tampering
  •  Arson
  •  Arson w/ intent to defraud
  • Molotov cocktails
  •  Armed burglary or inhabited dwelling
  •  Car-jacking (new statute)
  • Robbery
  • Bank robbery
  • Assaults by prisoners
  • Sexual assault of a child
  •  Repeated sexual assault of a child
  • Physical abuse of a child
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