Hunters, anti-violence voice gun control opinions

TOWN OF HOLLAND — The gun culture is widespread throughout Wisconsin, as it is in some other states as well. 

Just to give you an idea about how many people in Wisconsin gun hunt, it's a lot.

According to its 2010 numbers, the Wisconsin DNR estimates there are more than 700,000 gun hunters in the state. But that number doesn't include game hunters who didn't have to pay for a license.

"It's not only just Wisconsin, it's America," said Jeff Mix, a hunter from Manitowoc.

Mix has been hunting since he was 16 and now primarily hunts turkey and deer.

For deer, he uses a semi-automatic .30-06 rifle with a five-round clip.

"If you've got a five-shot clip and you can't take out your target – your game – you shouldn't be out there or you should be on the range," said Mix.

Mix is also the executive director of Taking Wing Stewardship, an area not-for-profit that teaches children about the importance of the outdoors, hunting and gun safety.

He’s concerned current and future hunters are being lumped in with criminals as a part of the national gun debate.

"What the hunters fear is that – limit guns now: assault rifles and high capacities – but is it going to stop there?"

While personally opposed to the general public owning and using assault-style rifles and high-capacity magazines, Mix says legislation limiting second amendment rights can impact those that are sport target shooters or trick shooters.

"I worry about taking our rights away from us, because, you know...penalizing the majority for a few bad eggs," said Mix.

"This is absolutely a step in the right direction," said Jeri Bonavia of President Barack Obama’s gun legislation proposals and 23 executive actions laid out Wednesday.

Bonavia - speaking to FOX 11 by phone - is the executive director of the Wisconsin Anti Violence Effort.

She was in Washington meeting with Vice President Joe Biden last week and returned to Milwaukee Wednesday afternoon.

Bonavia says gun violence in the U.S. is a major concern and that public needs to realize the status quo must change.

"Coming from a gun owning family – I know, as well as anybody, that gun owners want to be part of the solution as well," said Bonavia of her familiarity with the gun culture and hunting in Wisconsin.

"You've got to meet in the middle and that's compromise and that's what built the country," said Mix.

President Obama requested the public to put pressure on Congress and the gun lobby to help stop the nation's gun violence. FOX 11 called both Congressmen Reid Ribble and Tom Petri's offices to get their thoughts. Congressman Ribble's office did not return our call.

Congressman Petri’s office released a statement saying:

“Some of the best solutions may not come from the President or Congress. Petri says he does not want to see the Constitution ignored in the process, and he review the President's proposals carefully."

Copyright 2014 WLUK TV. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


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Wisconsin (change)

According to the 2010 U.S. Census, Wisconsin’s population totaled 5,686,986, a 6.0% increase over the 2000 U.S. Census count of 5,363,715. (Source: Wisconsin Blue Book)
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Governor: Scott Walker
Lieutenant Governor: Rebecca Kleefisch
Attorney General: J.B. Van Hollen

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