Shelby County Launches Gun Safety Council: How to Apply

Shelby County Government launches new Council on Gun Safety which aims to raise awareness of the safe storage of firearms, in hopes of reducing suicides, accidental shootings and firearms falling into the hands of criminals.

In his announcement of the new council, Shelby County Mayor Lee Harris criticized state legislation such as Tennessee’s Unlicensed Transportation Act.

“While we can’t do anything about the legislation…we can do something to encourage members of our community who carry guns to make sure those guns are stored more safely,” Harris said.

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More than 40% of the guns used in crimes in Memphis are stolen from the vehicles of law-abiding citizensaccording to Memphis Police Department Chief CJ Davis, data shared Thursday.

Policy Advisor Jerri Green and Shelby County Mayor Lee Harris announce the creation of a Shelby County Gun Safety Council on Thursday, June 30, 2022.

And, Memphis leads the nation in the number of guns stolen from cars, according to Everytown for Gun Safety. Memphis also tops the list of major cities for accidental underage shootings, according to a joint investigation by the Associated Press and the USA TODAY Network in 2016.

Jerri Green, policy adviser for Harris, cited the results of a Johns Hopkins study on gun ownership. According to the study, 54% of gun owners said they do not store all guns safely in their homes. And 34% of those who didn’t store all their guns safely had children under 18 at home.

The county hopes to include a variety of people on the council, including young people 16 or older, educators, health care workers, law enforcement, gun owners and people from different zip codes, Green said.

There is no set number of people to include on the board, which should meet monthly.

Shelby County residents can apply online by July 15 at www.shelbycountytn.gov/CouncilOnGunSafety.

Katherine Burgess covers county government and religion. She can be reached at [email protected], 901-529-2799 or followed on Twitter @kathsburgess.

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