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INTERVIEW: Milwaukee County Sheriff David Clarke Jr. Criticized for Telling Residents to Take Gun Safety Training in the Wake of Police Layoffs

A sheriff in Wisconsin has raised some eyebrows with a blunt radio ad that advises residents to receive gun safety training if they choose to own a firearm.

In the ad, Milwaukee County Sheriff David Clarke Jr. says, "With officers laid off and furloughed, simply calling 911 and waiting is no longer your best option. You can beg for mercy from a violent criminal, hide under the bed, or you can fight back, but are you prepared? Consider taking a certified safety course in handling a firearm so you can defend yourself until we get there. You have a duty to protect yourself and your family. We're partners now. Can I count on you?"

On Fox and Friends this morning, Clarke explained his reasons behind the message, saying there

has been a "scaling back of public safety resources" in recent years. He said last year he had to lay off 42 of his deputies, while the Milwaukee city police department furloughed 1,500 of its officers three days each.

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"The police are not omnipresent, we can't be everywhere all the time. Sometimes we can't be there as fast as we'd like. So in those situations, once the wolf is at the door, once the intruder is in your home, once a guy sticks a gun in your face on the street and demands your wallet or wants to take your car, 911 isn't going to help you," Clarke said, adding that he feels it's his "obligation" to make sure people are aware of how they can protect themselves.

His message was not well received by Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett (D), who said apparently Clarke "is auditioning for the next 'Dirty Harry' movie." Barrett called it "troubling" that Clarke sounded like he was dissuading people from calling 911, saying he wants people to call 911 in an emergency. He said Clarke succeeded in his goal of "getting a lot of attention and publicity."

Watch the interview below, including Clarke's response to Barrett.


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