Wisconsinites discussing what needs to change to stop mass shootings
WHITEFISH BAY, Wis. (CBS 58) -- Local leaders, business owners and parents continue to talk about what needs to be done to prevent shootings.
While views about whether or not more gun control is needed, how to handle security in schools, and background checks differ greatly, the overwhelming opinion is that something needs to change.
On a quiet Wednesday afternoon at the Whitefish Bay library, a handful of people impacted by or concerned about gun violence came together for a conversation.
"For the assault rifles, like you can buy a rifle as an 18 year old, at 18 you can't even drink," commented mother of four, Kahri Phelps.
For many at the roundtable, the banning of semi-automatic rifles was top of mind.
"Ban assault rifles, ban all military style weaponry," declared Melody Villanueva, who lost her son to gun violence.
She said that the only reason someone would be against universal background checks is skeletons in people's own closets.
"The fact that your background is smudgy," said Villanueva.
People at the round table aren't the only ones concerned about what happened.
"It still breaks me up, I have a child who is twelve, it affects me deeply." said Steve Koenig, owner of Northstar Gunworks in Waukesha. He said he thinks the biggest priority is enforcing laws that do exist.
Koenig pointed to the background checks his customers fill out daily.
He said it only works if people properly report potentially dangerous individuals to authorities.
"It doesn't matter what kind of law is put on the book, if it's not presented, they're not going to know," said Koenig.
Wisconsin Firearm Owners Association President Rob Kovach said gun bans face legal challenges.
He said armed security is key to protecting schools, but didn't say it should be part of a teacher's job description.
"Using a firearm for personal protection is a personal choice," said Kovach.
While the roundtable was against teachers arming themselves, they are concerned about school security.
Even going so far as to say former service members could stand guard at schools.
"Because you do have to have somebody there to protect the kids," said Tanja Dixon.
Almost everyone said addressing mental health issues, especially in young people, is critical as well.