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Midwest leaders need other things beside gun control to reduce violence


MINNEAPOLIS (WTAQ) - Law enforcement leaders from Wisconsin and the Midwest say other things are needed beside gun control to reduce the street violence they see each day.

Those attending a summit in Minneapolis Thursday wanted stronger community partnerships – along with more cooperation between various government agencies.

Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett and Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak planned the day-long meeting a year ago – months before mass slayings took place in their areas, plus the Connecticut school tragedy.

Milwaukee Police Chief Ed Flynn said those mass shootings need federal action – but he said daily killings cannot be ignored, either. Flynn called those a “slow-motion mass murder.”

Barrett said he and other mayors feel pressure from those opposed to changing gun laws. But he added, “We are fighting for the freedom of the people of this country to be safe.”

The summit took place on the same day that Vice President Joe Biden announced a consensus on some federal gun control measures, including a ban on assault weapons, which he’ll give to the president next week.

Rybak said the federal measures are helpful, but they won’t limit what the Upper Midwest needs to do.

For one thing, Rybak says federal laws must be changed so law enforcement can share information about firearms with each other. Rybak said he was appalled when he went to a crime scene, and saw that a federal firearms agent could not legally information to the local police about the guns or suspects in that crime.

The local authorities also said they need more information about the mental health of those seeking gun licenses.