MEMPHIS, Tenn. — As Governor Lee plans a special session to address mass shootings and ways to stop them, the Memphis City Council discussed Tuesday introducing ordinances aimed at getting guns off the streets.
Gun reform in the state is a hot-button issue, but city council members believe they need to control guns to control the violence.
“It’s mindboggling that it’s easier to carry a firearm than it is to drive a car or be certified as a beautician,” said Councilman Chase Carlise.
That’s why they say it’s time to address the matter.
“What’s good for 97 other counties is not right for us, and we’re being abandoned by current laws and we’re bleeding for it. It’s a public health emergency,” said Councilman Jeff Warren.
An emergency impacted nearly 1,800 people between January and March alone in Memphis. Now, the council is working to draft ordinances to get guns off the streets.
“Hopefully we’ll see a ban on automatic weapons, a ban on open carry, a ban on cardless carry. If you have a gun in the city, you need to have a license, you need to be trained,” Warren said.
However, they acknowledge their plan will be difficult because it puts them in direct conflict with state law.
“We’re authorized by our charter to try and protect our citizens’ health and well-being. And if the state’s not doing it, then we have to step up and try,” Warren said.
The council said it’s a fight they’re willing to have if it means keeping Memphians safe, even if it ultimately ends up in the courts.
“I don’t think anybody thought about living and growing up in a place that’s land of the free and home of the brave to pursue happiness, but I have to send my children to school wondering whether they’re going to come home or not because of gun violence,” Carlise said.
These ordinances could be introduced as early as the next city council meeting on May 16.