Memphis community members list state gun laws as factors in violent crime
MEMPHIS, Tennessee (WMC) – At least four children have been abused this week, including a seven-year-old boy who was shot and killed on July 4 in the Klondike.
As in all cases of violence, the ultimate responsibility rests with the person who commits the crime.
But community members and city leaders say there are other factors at play as well, including the state’s gun laws.
Memphis Mayor Jim Strickland this week shared figures showing the number of guns stolen from cars in Memphis on social media.
In the middle of the graphic, you can see the explosion of stolen guns from 2015, a year after state lawmakers passed a bill allowing people to keep loaded guns inside their vehicles. without license.
By 2020, the number had almost tripled.
Memphis Police Chief CJ Davis says many of these stolen guns are used in crimes.
“Over 40% of guns used in crimes are stolen from the vehicles of law-abiding citizens,” Davis said.
Community members say the 2014 law is just one example of legislation that might have looked good for Tennessee but bad for Memphis.
The latest, they say, is the unlicensed porterage law.
Supporters of unlicensed porterage, including Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee, say it protects the rights of Second Amendment citizens to defend themselves.
But Angela Stewart, the grandmother of Kelby Shorty, 7, shot dead on July 4, says the law is a bad idea.
“I’m not giving two cents on this because now we’re really going to lose our kids,” Stewart said.
Mary Trice, the founder of Ride of Tears, which works to prevent gun violence, says she too believes porting without a license will lead to more violence.
While most of the Shelby County delegation voted against the law, Trice says Memphis is not on the minds of most other lawmakers in the state.
“How many white children have been killed this year? How many Mexican children have been killed this year? Now, how many black children have been killed this year? Trice asked. “How many? How many more are you all going to kill? How many of you are going to keep killing us?
Trice announced that Ride of Tears will organize an emergency hike next Wednesday in light of the recent violence.
Police did not say whether the weapon used in Shorty’s death was stolen.
They are still looking for the suspects in this case.
But police are urging gun owners to take training. They also urge them to lock their guns if they keep them in cars.
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