As a growing number of state sheriffs' associations are warning Washington against taking guns of citizens, a Milwaukee area sheriff is going one step further, telling residents that it's their responsibility to arm themselves against criminals.

In a new 30-second radio ad, Milwaukee County Sheriff David Clarke Jr. is telling Wisconsinites that they have to be their own first line of defense against an attack, in part because of budget cuts are trimming police staffs.

"Your safety it's no longer a spectator sport. I need you in the game," said the sheriff in a controversial ad.

His advice: Take a gun course and buy a gun. And be ready to shoot first.

"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?"