Shelby County Council on Gun Safety focuses on safe gun storage

Published: Dec. 29, 2022 at 7:09 PM CST
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MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - After months of studying gun violence in Shelby County, we are finally learning some of the solutions a newly formed task force came up with.

Memphis Police say there have been nearly 300 homicides in Memphis, the Shelby County Sheriff’s Office says there have been 11 so far in the county.

Over the summer Mayor Lee Harris put together a group of citizens to study ways to prevent gun deaths and encourage gun safety.

Over 100 applied, and only 24 were chosen.

The group included parents, teachers, law enforcement, medical professionals and even high school students.

On Thursday, the group held its first public event at the L.Y.E. Stop the Violence Expo in East Memphis.

The event was held on the one-year anniversary of the murder of Juanita Washington who was shot and killed after a trip to a Walgreens on South Perkins.

The L.Y.E Academy where she volunteered as head administrator is still grieving, but the dance studio’s founder organized the expo to hopefully help others not go through something similar.  

“I can imagine there are thousands of people more who grieve daily due to senseless killing and I don’t know, I just think we need to offer more opportunities here,” said Ladia Yates.

About 700 Youth and their parents registered for the event.

There were free haircuts, face painting, vendors, mental health information and free lessons on gun safety courtesy of the Shelby County Gun Safety Council.

The group handed out free gun locks.

“I see news reports every day, people mishandling guns, people not being careful with guns, people not knowing how to operate guns and accidents happen,” said Don Adams, one of the 24 citizens who has been meeting twice a month to come up with solutions to gun violence.

Teaching the community about how to safely store guns could help lower the gun violence problem.

“We do know from our police chief that over 40 percent of gun crime committed in Shelby County comes from a gun stolen out of a car,” said Mayor Lee Harris’ Senior Policy Advisor Jerri Green.

In addition to attending more public community events, the council is also working on social media campaigns, public service announcements focused on suicide, a youth summit and a mail-order gun lock program.

While gun crimes are still a big issue in the city, the number of homicides are actually declining.

So far there are 298 homicides in Memphis this year, that’s more than 40 less than last year.

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