MPD director concerned about state’s permitless carry bill; 369 arrests in six-week operation

Updated: Mar. 23, 2021 at 5:52 PM CDT
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MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - Memphis Police are calling a six-week operation that led to the arrest of more than 300 people and took close to 150 firearms off the streets a success.

Memphis Police Director Mike Rallings said efforts like Operation Winter Freeze II could help with the growing crime rate Memphis is experiencing.

The intent behind the six-week operation which ran from February 6th through March 19th was to help reduce crimes involving aggravated assaults, homicides and shootings within city limits.

“We made 369 total arrests, 146 of those arrests for felonies, $60,000 in cash were seized and 33 vehicles,” said Rallings.

74 handguns and 74 long guns were confiscated along with a long list of drugs.

Related | Memphis police director calls Operation Winter Freeze II ‘big success’ after hundreds of arrests, guns and drugs seized

Rallings said these findings worry him especially as state representatives work to pass a permitless carry bill.

“I’m just very alarmed that our state legislature is poised to pass permitless carry and our governor is waving around like there is a victory lap to be taken,” he said.

Rallings believes operations like this will make a difference in the homicide rate.

In 2020, the city of Memphis recorded 332 homicides, 38 of the victims were children.

This year there have been 62 homicides, 52 of those are murders.

“One thing that’s still missing is that robust response from our community, and this is what I mean everybody has been saying police you need to do this, police you need to do that, but the community has got to do their part,” Rallings told WMC Action News 5.

Rallings says when it comes to homicides it’s a matter of people speaking up.

Currently, the permitless carry bill has been passed in the Senate and must pass in house before heading to the governor’s desk.

WMC reached out to governor Bill Lee’s office for response to Director Rallings’ concerns but has not heard back.

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