MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Memphis Police are again taking aim at Tennessee’s gun laws after a downtown shooting they say involved a stolen gun.
One person was critically injured early Thursday in a shooting on Beale Street, the second recent shooting in the entertainment district.
Two people involved have been charged with unlawful possession of firearms, police said, but so far no aggravated assault charges have been filed.
Police said the victim in the shooting, who has not been identified, was in possession of a gun that was stolen from a vehicle in October 2021. This has officials renewing criticism over the state’s gun laws.
“Since the enactment of permitless carry by the state, there have been more firearms readily available on the streets across the state of Tennessee. Additionally, this change in the law has proven to be a hurdle for law enforcement and public safety,” MPD said in a statement.
Gov. Bill Lee last year signed a law that allows Tennesseans ages 21 and over and military members over the age of 18 to carry open or concealed handguns without a permit. It also increases punishments for gun-related crimes.
Many law-enforcement and political officials, especially in Memphis, criticized the measure saying it makes the jobs of law enforcement officers more difficult.
Another late-night shooting on Beale on April 10 resulted in one death and two injuries. That incident had downtown officials strengthening security on weekends, but not necessarily on week nights.
“The Memphis Police Department is continuously working with our partners at the Downtown Memphis Commission to ensure the safety of residents and visitors in the entertainment district,” MPD said. “Additional officers and supervisors are working to provide coverage in the focused areas of the district. We also need the public’s help. We ask that anyone with any information on this crime or any other in our community call CrimeStoppers at 901-528-CASH.”
WREG Investigators uncovered at least two other incidents in the last year when guns got onto Beale.
A man reportedly pulled out a gun from his waistline in a bar on a Saturday in July and another man aimed his pistol at a bouncer on a Monday night in November.
We reached out to other entertainment districts across the country about their safety procedures.
Austin, Texas officials tell us some of their businesses utilize metal detectors.
We tried to run the idea past the Beale Street Merchants Association, but no one answered our calls or messages.