NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – Four mayors in Tennessee sent a joint memo to state leaders early Wednesday morning recommending policy actions to reduce gun violence in Tennessee.
In the letter, Mayors John Cooper of Nashville, Indya Kincannon of Knoxville, Lee Harris of Shelby County, and Tim Kelly of Chattanooga, say now is the time to turn statements of support and sympathy into action.
The letter mentions that Tennessee has had the 12th highest rate of gun deaths in the country over the past four years, according to data provided by the National Center for Health Statistics.
The mayors say while they are encouraged by the governor’s recent support for stricter laws, it’s time to implement gun laws that have proven to be successful in other states.
“We are encouraged by Governor Lee’s recent support for extreme risk laws after the tragic murders a few weeks ago at The Covenant School. Now is the moment to turn statements of support and sympathy into action,” stated the memo.
In the letter, Cooper, Kincannon, Harris and Kelly detail 10 recommended actions for gun policy changes that should be enacted in Tennessee:
- Require background checks for all gun purchases and require point-of-sale background checks for all gun purchases, including rifles and shotguns.
- Implement Extreme Risk Protection Orders, also known as “red flag laws” which would allow law enforcement and family members to intervene those at extreme risk of harming from possessing guns.
- Enhanced safety of the concealed carry law. Cooper states that Tennessee should become the 24th state to bar concealed carry by people with violent misdemeanor convictions.
- Raise the age from 18 to 21 to purchase handguns or any centerfire semiautomatic long gun.
- Implement a storage law that would penalize gun owners if a child (under 18 years old) or person prohibited from possessing firearms gains access to a firearm.
- Limit gun thefts by requiring cars containing a gun to be locked and for the gun to be stored inside a locked compartment.
- Ban high-capacity magazines — defined as greater than 10 rounds. Cooper mentions that the shooter in the Covenant School shooting fired 152 rounds using high-capacity magazine.
- Pass a law that prevents convicted stalkers from possessing a firearm. The memo states that 54% of femicide victims reported stalking to police before they were killed by their stalkers.
- Provide funding for school threat assessment teams who are trained to identify warning signs and intervene before students commit acts of violence.
- Require reporting of lost and stolen guns within 72 hours of the incident.
The memo was addressed to state leaders that included Gov. Bill Lee, House Speaker Cameron Sexton, and Lt. Gov. Randy McNally.