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Memphis, Shelby County officials launch ‘Fed Up’ campaign in response to violent crime numbers

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Memphis and Shelby County leaders are spreading awareness on a new campaign that has stiffer penalties for violent offenders.

It’s called the “Fed Up” campaign and highlights tougher state laws and possible federal prosecution for violent criminals who carry guns.

“I don’t want to talk to any more mothers whose child has died as a result of gun violence," said Mayor Jim Strickland.

Mayor Strickland says the recent increase in violent crime in Memphis is unacceptable.

► Strickland calls increasing city crime rate 'unacceptable'

“We are all fed up," he said. "I'm fed up about the crime. The people who live in Memphis are fed up with the crime. The people who own businesses in Memphis are fed up with the crime.”

Which brings no surprise he and other officials decided to name a new campaign against criminals the "Fed Up” campaign.

It highlights new stiffer penalties for violent offenders and drug-related offenders who are caught with guns.

“This ad campaign is to change behavior," said Shelby County District Attorney General Amy Weirich.

For instance, if you’re a convicted felon and are caught with a gun, you’re looking at 10 years in prison. That same sentence goes for domestic violence misdemeanor offenders who are caught with guns.

“The level of violence is just way too much," said Memphis Police Director Mike Rallings.

If you have a history of selling or trafficking drugs and you’re caught with a gun, you’re looking at three to six years behind bars.

The campaign aims to send a message to criminals.

“That we're going to find you, that we're going to arrest you and that we're going to prosecute you and we're going to seek the maximum sentence that the law allows," said U.S. Attorney Larry Laurenzi for the Western District of Tennessee.

He says they did a similar campaign in the past in Memphis that was successful.

Authorities say they’ll also be bringing the campaign into classrooms to teach children about the repercussions of gun violence.

“I think if we start with our young people and better educate them, I think we can make this a better community for all," said Shelby County Sheriff's Chief Deputy Floyd Bonner.

City officials say this is just one tactic they’re using to try and combat our violent crime numbers.

They’re also looking to rebuild the police department, increase economic opportunity, offer more to our youth and help nonviolent offenders get back on their feet.