Tennessee lawmakers hope to pass a bill that tackles violence

Mid-South lawmakers proposing legislation to reduce violence

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - With local and state leaders worried about the growing crime rate in Memphis there is heavy pressure to find ways to combat the issue.

“If we want to be very proactive in reducing violence particularly around gun violence, here is a program that the state of Tennessee could fund with grants from the federal government to essentially have nonprofit organizations out there in the neighborhoods that they know,” said Tennessee State Rep. Harold Love.

Health and local leaders working to stop violence in Memphis

State Senator Raumesh Akbari who is co-sponsoring the bill says things have to change when it comes to tackling gun crimes.

”What this is looking at is instead of enhancing a crime it’s trying to look at programs that can stop the crime or the mindset before it begins and I think that’s a really big deal to do that type of intervention,” said Akbari.

Akbari says this bill is needed now more than ever in the wake of a violent weekend and the signing of Tennessee’s new “permitless carry” law.

Tennessee Legislature approves permitless handgun carry bill

”It definitely worries me that we are on a trajectory to have more lives lost and again with this open carry legislation it’s not going to get better if anything it will get worst,” said Akbari.

If approved the legislation would help fund programs like Cure Violence which is new to Memphis and views violence as a health issue.

Both Akbari and Love like that the bill does not involve the use of law enforcement and calls for a community approach.

Love says the grant money is already allocated it’s just a matter of getting the bill approved and assigning a person to administer the grants.

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