A poll conducted by Wisconsin's largest police group reveals Wisconsinites are deeply divided on the issue of gun control. The Wisconsin Professional Police Association, or the WPPA, poll shows 47% of the public favors stricter gun laws, while 43% says the laws should be kept the same.
The Executive Director of the WPPA, Jim Palmer, says the results of this survey will play a crucial role in how their board works with lawmakers in developing new legislation on gun control. But Palmer says that even he was surprised by the results.
"The results we have seen are reflective of the national polls and so that was interesting to us," Palmer told NewsChannel 7. "We thought with how much this has been in the news in Wisconsin this last year, there maybe a stronger sentiment favoring stronger gun control laws and that simply isn't the case."
That's why Palmer says it's so important to the WPPA that all gun control laws be fully explored before any decisions are made. Palmer admits the organization has always struggled with the gun control issue, as their members recognize it's a very complicated one.
"Anytime we talk about piecemeal items of legislation, we run the risk of ignoring that it really is a broad based problem and that's our main interest at this point, seeing a broad based and multifaceted solution. One that involves not only how people buy guns, but people who are-- how they're penalized when they violate those laws and the mental health issues that are involved in a lot of these issues that we've seen," Palmer explained.
Kronenwetter Police Chief Dan Joling agrees, but adds he would like to see lawmakers focus more on mental health than on the weapons themselves.
"I don't think all the gun control in the world, as we know it right now, is going to help those people or is going to prevent those people that if they truly want to do serious damage by way of a firearm they're going to get them and they're going to do it," Chief Joling told NewsChannel 7.
That's why he says lawmakers have to walk a very fine line while drafting new legislation.
"I think that anything you would take and go further from that point and say, well that's why we need to confiscate or lock them up or force that or inspections, now you're really starting to-- where are we starting to go as a country and a society? It's a lot of hard questions," Chief Joling admits.
Chief Joling tells NewsChannel 7 that if ever there was a time for both parties to reach accross the aisle, it's now.