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Gun control

Wisconsin police chief: Gun violence is 'as serious as the Ebola virus'

Wisconsin Police Chief Norm Jacobs is drawing ire from gun rights advocates over his encouraging residents of Beloit, Wisconsin, to invite officers into their private homes to search for guns they might not know are there.

"Gun violence is as serious as the Ebola virus is being represented in the media, and we should fight it using the tools that we've learned from our health providers," Jacobs told Fox News, likening the preventative nature of the gun inspection process to a vaccine.

Beloit has seen seven gun-involved homicides this year. The police department said that so far they have received one call requesting a search, which turned up a gun the owner knew about and wanted to discreetly turn in.

Jacobs emphasized that the voluntary gun inspections aren't meant as crackdowns on legal gun owners. "We're not interested in taking lawfully owned guns," Jacobs said. "But safety starts at the home."

Still, gun rights groups are concerned about legal gray areas: Who in the household, for instance, has the authority to contact police for the search? What if a pair of feuding spouses calls the cops on each other?

Jacobs clarified that police would perform an "inspection," not a search, and would only do so once it is "absolutely clear" that consent comes from the person with authority.