Residents sound off on gun safety

By Natalie Sopyla

WAUSAU, Wis. (WAOW) -- Incidents of gun violence are plaguing the United States and it's reignited the conversation over gun safety.

Just as it has divided our lawmakers, it's also divided the community in Central Wisconsin too.

"I think right now we've become a little too polarized and it's good to have differing opinions, because even now I'm conflicted on which way I want to go," said Wausau resident Aaron Hursch. "But if we can't hear the other side or at least consider what they have to say we're never going to make any progress."

One Stevens Point woman, who is the wife of a trooper and did not want to be named, says the problem isn't guns, it's the people wielding them.

"A gun cannot operate by itself. It's the person behind the gun that needs to pull that trigger," she said. "So guns aren't the problem, people are the problem."

Others say they believe gun laws work, and that it's important to be able to defend yourself against deadly force.

But others say things need to change, saying lawmakers need to find solutions.

"If you look around at other countries... and look at their laws and draw some comparisons and conclusions, I think that might be valuable," said Wausau resident Frank Dann.

News 9 reached out to every single lawmaker who covers North Central Wisconsin. Several of them declined to comment, others just haven't responded.

We not only reached out last week, but again Tuesday to push for answers.

Only Democratic Senator Janet Bewley of Mason agreed to comment.

"I hope that in the spirit of being responsible for and caring for your neighbor like soldiers do, that we can do something," she said.

Democratic Representative Katrina Shankland did send us a statement last week, saying in part "I have to believe there is room for us to find consensus on commonsense measures so that we are protecting both the safety of our kids and communities and the rights of responsible gun owners."