Call for universal background checks spills onto streets

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MILWAUKEE (WITI) -- More than a dozen people were on the streets Saturday, May 4th collecting signatures in favor of universal gun background checks.

"We're gathering as many signatures as we can," said Paul Geenen of Organizing for Action.

He's one of more than a dozen people in Milwaukee, and hundreds nationwide, hitting the streets.

"It would keep guns from criminals hands, domestic abusers and people with mental illness," Geenen said.

The petitions will be sent to Congress Tuesday in the hopes it will take up the issue and push for legislation. The Senate defeated the bill a couple of weeks ago.

"This bill would keep us safe," said Geenen. "We have a right to be safe and our children have a right to be safe."

Gun-rights advocates say the bill is flawed and won't work.

"It's an unpopular idea. It won't be taken up again," Wisconsin Pro-Gun Movement director Jim Fendry said. "It won't go anywhere even among the Democrats or the Republicans."

Fendry says universal background checks would be very costly to taxpayers. He adds, it will not stop criminals from getting their hands on weapons.

"This is supposed to affect what the bad guys do. Criminals don't care, Fendry said.  "They're not going to go through background checks."

More than 600,000 signatures have been collected nation-wide in favor of universal background checks.