Local leaders speak out against permitless carry legislation

Updated: Feb. 29, 2020 at 9:50 PM CST
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MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - More local leaders are voicing public opposition to Governor Bill Lee’s proposal to remove gun carry permits and make Tennessee a “constitutional carry” state.

“It was a very difficult ride today, very difficult and I just tell everybody to put the guns down please,” said Mary Trice, who lost her nephew to gun violence.

Several weeks ago, Mary Trice was one of dozens of community activists who led a ride of tears to honor three Memphis teenagers killed in gun violence.

Saturday Trice was at the front of another ride. This time on the day of her 16-year-old nephew, Jordan Milan’s funeral. Milan was shot and killed last week by his 17-year-old best friend on Kings Crown Drive.

Trice says her family is praying for the young man who pulled the trigger.

“It was a terrible mistake. Baby we love you, we want to let you know we love you and we do understand that you were not trying to hurt Jordan,” said Trice.

Following the ride, the group Freedom From Unnecessary Negatives held a press conference alongside local clergy, the NAACP and Shelby County Commissioner Reginald Milton.

The group voiced its opposition to Governor Bill Lee's proposed legislation that would make Tennessee a constitutional carry state.

“All of you out there, please stand with us as we say do not pass this gun law,” said Vickie Terry, Memphis NAACP Executive Director.

Lee's bill would remove gun carry permits and increase penalties for gun thefts to a felony. Lee says it would make the state safer.

Gun violence reduction advocates believe Lee's bill would make Memphis more dangerous.

“This bill, ladies and gentlemen, would harm us more than help. Look, I'm a responsible gun owner but the key word there is responsible. And to be able to take away the responsibility and put the guns in anyone's hands, you just as well put them in the hands of the criminals because that's where it's going to end up. This is irresponsible, this is not well thought out, this is wrong,” said Reginald Milton, Shelby County Commission.

Shelby County District Attorney Amy Weirich and Memphis Police Director Mike Rallings have come out in opposition to the bill.

FFUN founder Stevie Moore, who lost a son to gun violence, passionately rejects Lee's proposal.

“I'm saying wake up Memphis, let’s stop this madness and come out and send a message that no more! No more! We will not have it no more! And that's what we're doing today. And we're not going to give up. We're not going to stop,” said Moore.

Governor Lee's proposal would prohibit restricted persons, like felons, from carrying a gun.

Lawmakers say the current permitting process in place puts an unnecessary burden on lawful gun owners.

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