Milwaukee mayor, police chief blame lax gun laws for weekend shooting (VIDEO)

Milwaukee Police Chief Edward Flynn and Mayor Tom Barrett have become embroiled in a war of words with Milwaukee County Sheriff David Clarke over gun violence and gun owners. (Photo: Composite of AP/ images)

Milwaukee Police Chief Edward Flynn and Mayor Tom Barrett have become embroiled in a war of words with Milwaukee County Sheriff David Clarke over gun violence and gun owners. (Photo: Composite of AP/ images)

After a double homicide by a suspect with a prior violent criminal history, city leaders called out GOP lawmakers and Sheriff David Clarke for supporting gun rights.

Soon after the event, Milwaukee’s Democratic Mayor Tom Barrett suggested that Republican lawmakers to include the chief executive of Wisconsin were to blame for the number of guns in circulation. That in turn is why homicides are up 160 percent in the city, he contended.

“This community has to face the reality that the gun laws that this state has put forward over the last few years – as proud as it makes the governor and legislature feel – has resulted in more guns on the streets of the City of Milwaukee,” said Barrett, a member of former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s Mayors Against Illegal Guns.

This led Milwaukee County Sheriff David Clarke, fresh from speaking at the National Rifle Association’s annual convention in Nashville, to point out that the Mayor’s comments were nothing but an excuse for bigger issues.

“His rhetoric today, after yet again another violent weekend in the city of Milwaukee, is nothing more than the liberal anti-gun, anti-Second Amendment talking point memo,” Clarke said. “The overwhelming majority of law-abiding gun owners throughout the state of Wisconsin do not use them to settle disputes, or take property from people. The Castle Doctrine and CCL were designed to help people protect themselves, especially while Barrett is furloughing Milwaukee police officers.”

The mention of the city’s police in turn brought Milwaukee Police Chief Edward Flynn came out swinging against Clarke.

“He set up a straw man. The straw man is, ‘There they go again, talking about guns,'” Flynn said on Tuesday, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported. “Right. We are. We’re talking about career criminals with guns they buy illegally on the street without a background check. And they qualify for concealed carry permits. We don’t think that’s a smart law.”

For an answer to the comments from Flynn and Barrett, reached out to the Sheriff.

“You know, it’s typical. The Mayor has held that seat for over 10 years and the city continues to circle the train. We have entrenched poverty. We have obscenely high unemployment. We have failing schools. A lot of ingredients, the pathologies, and risk factors,” Sheriff Clarke told by phone Friday. “He’s out of ideas. He doesn’t know what to do with those things so he has to look for straw man.”

On Flynn, the Sheriff was candid.

“He attacks the Second Amendment and he attacks the NRA. He called the violence that’s goin’ on in the city of Milwaukee – he said, ‘This must be the NRA’s vision for America.’ I’m appalled at this stuff. The arrogance of these two individuals – they’re so hell bent on attacking gun owners — law abiding gun owners, by the way — who are not involved in this crime and violence,” Clarke said.

During this week’s imbroglio over gun rights and gun violence, the suspect in the shooting that sparked the debate, Ricky Ricardo Chiles III, fled to Chicago — ironically home of some of strictest gun laws in the country. There the 27-year old known felon with a lengthy criminal record that spanned his adult life committed suicide Thursday as authorities closed in on him.

This, Clarke pointed out, is the true problem that Barrett and Flynn should spark a dialogue about.

“He was a felon on parole. He did a bank robbery,” explained Clarke. “He was sentenced to 13 years and the judge only made him serve two years of that. If the judge would’ve made him serve 50 percent of that sentence — it was handed out in 2011 — he would’ve been sitting in prison until 2017 and he wouldn’t have been out there last Sunday firing a gun at two innocent people. So, see, that’s the problem.”

In the end, contends the Sheriff, the goal should be clear.

“I keep tellin’ these guys, ‘We need to be attacking the criminals and leave the law abiding gun owners alone,’ but of course they’re just wed to this ideology that that’s not going to happen,” Clarke said.

Funeral arrangements for Archie Brown, Jr., the 40-year-old man who was shot and killed Sunday evening on Milwaukee’s north side, are this weekend and a memorial fund has been set up at Associated Bank to help cover funeral costs.

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