Orange Mound resident blames weak gun laws for uptick in Memphis violence

Published: Dec. 25, 2021 at 9:20 PM CST
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MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - Elnoid Parker Jr. was woken up early Christmas morning, around 2:30 a.m., to the sound of gunshots down the street from his home on Haynes Street in Orange Mound.

“I jumped up, I looked out the window,” Parker said. “I didn’t see anything. In the next 10 minutes, squad cars, everything is rolling, 15 squad cars.”

The house at 1013 Haynes Street, just a stone’s throw away from Melrose High School, can clearly be seen with bullet holes on the front, marked by Memphis Police.

“...grew up here all my life for 65 years, right here at 1081 (Haynes St.), never had these kind of problems since we’ve been here.”

One male was killed, and both we and Parker have since found out that the victim was a twelve-year-old boy.

“What did he do for him to get killed? He’s just in the house playing a game,” said Parker. “It’s just like me and anybody else here just sitting on the street. We ain’t never had this, just drive-by and shooting people. Why? Why do you want to shoot when you ain’t got to kill nobody?”

Parker says weak gun laws are what’s causing the uptick in violence in Memphis, a lack of stiff penalties for possession of unregistered firearms.

For first-time offenders, being caught with an unregistered firearm is a Class C misdemeanor, with a fine of up to $500 and up to 30 days in jail.

Second-time offenders are charged with the same fine, up to $500, and up to 6 months in jail.

In Parker’s mind, it’s not enough to make people stay away from turning to crime.

This is something Memphis Mayor Jim Strickland has expressed concern about and vocalized earlier this month.

“There’s not automatic jail time. That ought to call for automatic... there ought to be a consequence for the illegal use of guns, and state law is weak right now,” Strickland said in an interview earlier in December. “It doesn’t have a consequence, and we’re tired of it.”

Parker offers a solution, one that he says could lead to peace and quiet in his neighborhood.

He references the Tennessee’s laws against sawed-off shotguns, which results in one to six years in prison and a $3,000 fine if one is found in possession of the “prohibited weapon.”

Parker believes stronger penalties for being in possession of unregistered firearms would result in some peace and quiet in his neighborhood.

Parker proposed “20 to 25 years for an unregistered gun? Man, it’ll put a stop on this right now, right now, because what are they going to say? You see a gun laying there? Nah. That’s 25 years.”

As of now, Memphis Police are still investigating the death of the 12 year-old on Parker’s street.

MPD is asking anyone in the public with information on this fatal shooting to call Memphis Crime Stoppers at (901) 528-CASH.

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