New report shows gun deaths rising to record levels in U.S.

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — The number of gun deaths is rising at an alarming rate across the country, reaching a record high and affecting families everywhere, including right here in the Mid-South.

The CDC reports nearly 40,000 people died by guns last year in the U.S., making it the highest number of gun deaths in decades.

“I always go back to my son – killed with an AK-47 assault rifle. Some way we need to get rid of those high-powered guns in our community,” said Stevie Moore, the founder of Freedom From Unnecessary Negatives.

Moore’s dedicated his life to saving youth since his son Prentice was gunned down 15 years ago. It’s one of the 100-plus funerals he’s attended.

“It’s likely going to be worldwide that we have got desensitized," he said. "It’s common and that’s scary. It’s common to wake up and say my son was shot last night, my daughter was shot last night.

“We send them some balloons, we put teddy bears on poles and we do nothing else. We’ve got to change.”

WREG has requested the number of gun deaths for Memphis and Shelby County, but we have not yet received them. The Memphis Shelby Crime Commission reports gun crimes in Memphis and Shelby County are down nearly 20 percent this year compared to last.

“I know we have some stats that show the gun violence is down, but to a mother, brother, parent, sister, brother. It don’t mean anything. They’re just numbers,” Moore said.

He said the politics need to be taken out of it with the attention put on the lives lost.

State Rep. Antonio Parkinson (D-Memphis) says the black market for weapons is also cause for concern.

“You have weapons out there everywhere. You have more firepower out there than what a lot of police departments have,” Parkinson said.

He hopes lawmakers will soon come together to protect our community.

While on the streets, activists do what they know best.

“I think the only way we can change this is by showing more love,” Moore said.