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Milwaukee Mayor: 2,419 guns seized on city streets last year

Posted: 7:56 PM, Feb 19, 2017
Updated: 2017-02-20 09:34:26-05
Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett is asking for help to tackle the city's gun problem. 
 
He says police seize guns in Milwaukee at a rate that's nine times as high as police in New York City. He says that clearly indicates that there are too many guns on the streets. 
 
"There's more gun capacity that the criminals have than the police have," said Barrett. "And that's a concern that I have. I don't want our police officers to face individuals who can outgun them." 
Barrett is asking for help at the state and federal level. He wants tougher gun laws passed and he wants the ones already in effect to be enforced. 
 
According to Barrett, MPD seized 2,419 guns in 2016. So far in 2017, police have seized 337 guns, all while investigating a crime. 
 
Compared to other major cities, MPD seizes guns at a rate of about 407 per 100,000 people. Los Angeles Police seize guns at a rate of 156 per 100,000 people, Chicago at 246 per 100,000, Philadelphia at 253 per 100,000 and NYC at 44 per 100,000 people. 
 
"Look at what they're up against," said Barrett. "This is something that you wouldn't want your son or daughter to have to face in their job. We are asking them to face it and they are doing it professionally but they need help."
 
Barrett hopes to see legislation passed that would make it a felony to own a gun if you have three misdemeanor convictions in five years. He also wants state and federal prosecutors to take straw purchases more seriously in Wisconsin. 
 
"You can always hear the pow, pow, pow, pow," said Virgie Payne who has lived in her home near 24th and Nash for 30 years. 
She says she remembers first moving to the neighborhood in the 80s and being able to sit on her front porch, while children played outside. But she says her neighborhood has changed. 
 
"There's always some shooting," she said. "I could be washing dishes, I might have to duck or something. If you in the front, you hear it loud, you know to go to the back."
 
In her neighborhood last week, police say a 17-year-old boy running from police threw a handgun onto somebody's porch. That incident didn't surprise Payne at all. 
 
"It's really bad," she said. "You can't sit in the backyard, you can't sit in the front yard. People come through your yard for a short cut, running. They done shot somebody, more than likely." 
 
Milwaukee Police Officer Chad Boyack responded to the recent call in Payne's neighborhood involving the 17-year-old boy. 
 
"I've been involved in a lot in my career, but I've always been lucky to have great partners," said Boyack. "I mean partners that really have your back." 
His experience involves getting shot by a suspect in 2010. That man, Martin Bryant, was eventually sentenced to more than 50 years in prison. 
 
"It was an AK 47, long story short, traffic stop, a guy jumped out with a collapsible AK and shot me in my foot," said Boyack.
 
Boyack continues to respond to calls daily where he ends up seizing an illegal firearm, or seizes the gun during the investigation of a crime.  
 
"If you look at it statistically, I think you could say in certain situations we are outgunned," he said. "Especially when it comes to the rifles. We obviously don't carry our rifles on us, they're in the trunk. So at any situation with a rifle you're going to be outgunned with a handgun."
 
Mayor Barrett says police have seen a yearly increase in the number of guns seized since the concealed carry law went into effect in 2011. 

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