Milwaukee County DA says gun violence causing many challenges for office

Milwaukee County District Attorney John Chisholm says this has been a challenging year for gun violence in Milwaukee.  Homicides have surged in the city in 2015.  Chisholm says many of the homicides and shootings stem from people trying to settle disputes.

"We're hoping that we're going to get on top of this violent crime problem because you just have too many people that don't take that second or two to pause and think, if I do this, what's the consequence going to be," Chisholm said.

He says he has no issue with law-abiding gun owners, instead he says his office focuses on illegal guns and gun owners.

"I've tried to be very consistent on this as well," Chisholm said.  "Over 15 years ago I started the state's only firearms enforcement unit.   We specifically focus on those engaged in the illegal use of firearms. I don't have an issue with anyone who lawfully possesses firearms. I lawfully possess firearms, that has nothing to do with it."

He says there needs to be a balance between on access to firearms for certain people.

"We just have too many people armed with too many guns who are engaged in too many bad things," Chisholm said.  "What we need is a combination of effective efforts to prevent this violence from occurring in the first place and identifying it early and preventing it. But when we encounter people who are unlawfully using firearms, there are certain things that make our jobs more difficult quite frankly.  We don't have an anti-gun agenda, what we have is an anti-gun violence agenda, as a community we have to come together on that. There are certain things we are seeking help for, from our perspective, something as simple as not allowing somebody that is eligible for habitual offender status who's committed other weapons offenses in the past that have not been felonies, we don't think someone like that should be able to carry a concealed weapon."

Nik Clark from Wisconsin Carry says the conversation should focus on plea bargaining and sentencing from judges.  He says any changes shouldn't come at the expense of lawful gun owners.

"The proliferation of concealed carry is actually a response to the failure of the Milwaukee criminal justice system," Clark said.  "Not a cause of the problem."

He says harsher sentences would help deter gun-violence.

"We should know the names of judges who put these people back on the streets," Clark said.  "Someone should ask these judges, do you feel responsible  when one of these people that you gave a year and a half or a suspended sentence or probation do you feel responsible when these people go out and commit a crime, harm someone, or murder someone."

Clark doesn't think there will be any changes on the federal level following the attack in California.

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