MILWAUKEE (WITI) — Milwaukee saw two fatal shootings on Mother’s Day — and city and law enforcement leaders are hoping for a safer week and a safe summer, as they look for ways to curb gun violence.
A community forum on gun violence is planned for Tuesday, May 13th inside Milwaukee City Hall’s rotunda.
This, as the city of Milwaukee marks “Ceasefire Week.”
Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett is encouraging everyone to get involved.
On Sunday — a 47-year-old man, and a 33-year-old man lost their lives in two separate shootings.
“The violence is beyond senseless. It’s chronic — and it has got to stop,” Mayor Barrett said.
On the steps of the Tabernacle Community Baptist Church on Monday, Mayor Barrett announced the start of Ceasefire Week.
“(We need to) do everything we can to make sure we are reducing violence in the city,” Mayor Barrett said.
Activities are planned throughout the week aimed at preventing violence — including a gun buy-back program, which was proposed by the Milwaukee Clergy Coalition.
“(It’s) a tool to raise awareness and to get guns off the street and out the hands of persons who shouldn`t have them — including children,” Mayor Barrett said.
“We do believe this is a critical piece of a larger strategy to reclaim our neighborhoods,” Milwaukee Police Chief Ed Flynn said.
Mayor Barrett says from 2006 through 2013, 729 people were murdered in Milwaukee — and 3,900 people were victims of non-fatal shootings.
Chief Flynn says these numbers are staggering, sobering — and demand our attention.
City leaders want members of the community and faith-based groups to reach out to gun offenders.
“There are certain people we can`t reach. I’m of the mind the people who are getting in trouble are not going to be in church at 8 a.m. on Sunday — but they might have a mother, sister, aunt or brother who can reach them,” Mayor Barrett said.
Alderman Bob Donovan is skeptical — and says more needs to be done.
“We need more than just holding hands with church groups. I think this is a positive effort, but we need more police officers in this city to stabilize neighborhoods,” Alderman Donovan said.
Supporters say it’s more than just holding hands.
“We need a community that says ‘no you’re a punk if you need a gun to win a fight. You`re a jerk if you shoot somebody and wreck your life and theirs. We don`t respect you,’” Chief Flynn said.
If you’d like to take part in the Ceasefire Community Walk (one mile), it begins at Tabernacle Community Baptist Church, 2500 W. Medford Ave. in Milwaukee starting at 9 a.m. on Saturday, May 17th.
The gun buy-back program is set for the same day (Saturday) at the same location — Tabernacle Community Baptist Church. The gun buy-back program will be held from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m.
$53,000 was raised for the gun buy-back program. Here’s the breakdown of what you’ll receive for various weapons:
- $50 bank card for the return of a shotgun or rifle
- $100 bank card for the return of a handgun
- $200 bank card for the return of an assault weapon
IMPORTANT: All firearms must be unloaded, the magazine must be outside of the firearm, and ammunition WILL NOT be accepted.
Sunday, May 18th marks the annual Ceasefire Sabbath.