MILWAUKEE (WITI) — Milwaukee County Sheriff David Clarke was on national television again on Tuesday evening, January 29th — this time on CNN with Piers Morgan. He was joined by Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett, and the topic of discussion was gun control and Sheriff Clarke’s recent PSA.
In the PSA, Sheriff Clarke says, “With officers laid off and furloughed, simply calling 911 and waiting is no longer your best option. You could beg for mercy from a violent criminal, hide under the bed, or you can fight back. But are you prepared? Consider taking a certified safety course in handling a firearm so you can defend yourself until we get there.”
CLICK HERE to listen to the PSA
County documents show Sheriff Clarke’s budget is more than $3 million higher in 2013 than it was in 2012, and at least 29 of the 47 deputies laid off have been re-hired.
However, on Monday, January 28th Sheriff David Clarke defended the comments he made in his PSA on CNN’s “Starting Point with Soledad O’Brien.”
“We’re not putting any more guns on the street. The guns are already there. My message is for law-abiding citizens in certain situations, not to go out and enforce the law. It’s an inside your home when the wolf’s at the door and the intruder comes in or someone sticks a gun in your face when you’re on the street to take your property, there’s certain things you can and should do to protect yourself,” Sheriff Clarke said on CNN.
Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett referred to the PSA on Saturday, January 26th as “fear mongering.”
“What was most disturbing to me is if there’s an emergency, I want people to call 911. And to have the Sheriff just put out what I consider to be a public disservice announcement, discouraging people from calling 911, it’s just wrong,” Mayor Barrett said.
Milwaukee County Executive Chris Abele says he feels Sheriff Clarke is seeking attention.
“I think he probably was looking for attention and looking for press and he got it. I’ll tell you what he wasn’t looking for: he wasn’t looking for a productive solution. If that’s genuinely the issue of 911 service, there are far more productive, responsible and frankly mature ways to address it than the public service announcement we heard, which sounded like a movie trailer,” Abele said.
On Piers Morgan on Tuesday, the CNN commentator put Sheriff Clarke on the spot, asking for statistics on people in Milwaukee defending their homes with guns. Morgan pressed but Sheriff Clarke could not give exact numbers.
Sheriff Clarke and Mayor Barrett also debated about gun laws. Mayor Barrett wanted his support on mandatory background checks.
After Tuesday night’s broadcast, FOX6 News received responses from both Mayor Barrett and Sheriff Clarke.
Mayor Barrett said he is surprised Sheriff Clarke didn’t directly support background checks for gun owners, and says Sheriff Clarke changed the subject.
Sheriff Clarke said he didn’t respond to Morgan’s request for numbers because it was an “irrelevant statistic.”