Barrett urges lawmakers to pass gun legislation

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MILWAUKEE (WITI) -- A bi-partisan proposal requiring background checks at gun shows and over the internet was unveiled Wednesday, April 10th. Most would call this a compromise, but for some, it still goes too far -- and for others, not far enough.

On Wednesday, Democratic Senator Joe Manchin of West Virginia and Republican Senator Pat Toomey unveiled their much-anticipated bi-partisan proposal extending background checks to all commercial gun sales. That would include gun shows and the internet -- targeting criminals and the mentally ill.

In Milwaukee, Mayor Tom Barrett hosted a news conference asking lawmakers to pass it.

"Importantly, this legislation that has been introduced in the Senate would have covered the situation that occurred at the Azana salon," Mayor Barrett said.

In the Brookfield salon shooting, Radcliffe Haughton purchased a gun used to kill three people and himself from an online site.

Several Republican senators, including Ron Johnson of Wisconsin have signed a petition, vowing to oppose any legislation that infringes on their constitutional right to bear arms.

"I've got great news for him. The bill before us -- the Manchin-Toomey bill doesn't do that," Milwaukee Police Chief Ed Flynn said.

Mary Kay Balchunas, whose son, a state law enforcement agent was gunned down, said in February, Senator Johnson graciously met with her in his D.C. office -- telling her "the gun issue was not his thing."

"Well, I beg to differ. The gun issue may not be his passion or his area of expertise, but this gun issue I believe is every citizens' thing," Balchunas said.

Senator Johnson released a statement saying he is reviewing the Manchin-Toomey amendment, adding: "I have always said that I will look thoughtfully at the details of legislation that may actually deter criminal use of firearms, keep weapons out of the hands of the mentally unstable and respect the rights of lawful firearms owners."

Pamela Collins, whose daughter was killed by her partner, said some lawmakers don't seem to hear families of gun violence victims.

"It's like no one is feeling their pain. No one is understanding their story," Collins said.

The National Rifle Association is criticizing the proposal, saying: "We need a serious and meaningful solution that addresses crime in cities like Chicago, addresses mental health deficiencies, while at the same time, protecting the rights of those of us who are not a danger to anyone."