MEMPHIS, Tenn. — President Joe Biden has a plan to reduce gun violence, and he is sharing it with local law enforcement.
Memphis’ new police chief C.J. Davis was at the White House meeting Monday.
The President wants to create five new strike forces to crack down on illegal gun trafficking, give support to local law enforcement to hire police and invest in communities before violence erupts by providing youth employment programs, mental health and substance abuse programs and post-conviction job training.
“No one-size-fits-all approach. We know there are some things that work and one of those is stemming the flow of firearms used to commit violent crimes,” Biden said. “We recognize we have to come together for the first responsibility of democracy to keep everybody safe.”
Davis is just weeks on the job and is tasked with getting Memphis gun crime numbers down.
“I come from a city that is experiencing gun violence disproportionately in black and brown communities,” Davis said. “There has to be a correspondence between George Floyd Justice and policing action, and also the work and strategic plan this president is pushing forward.”
Davis’ meeting with the president comes as MPD released the latest gun crime stats.
There have been 140 murders in Memphis since Jan. 1, 2021, compared to 127 at this time last year.
“We have to find balance. We can’t continue to arrest crimes away,” Davis said. “We need to get guns off the street, hold people accountable so that our communities get the kind of protection they need.”
Memphis is also seeing a wave of children being killed or injured by gun fire. Le Bonheur Children’s Hospital is keeping the stats on children it sees with gun shot wounds.
From January to June of this year, there were 76 cases with five turning deadly. That’s compared to 134 gunshot wounds in 2020, and 89 in all of 2019.
The Biden administration says Memphis doesn’t have to wait, and can start now by using pandemic dollars to begin programs to address crime.
“Memphis and cities across this country have been hard hit during the pandemic is by an increase in gun violence. So yes those funds can be used right now and there is more money on the way,” said Chiraag Bains, President Biden’s special assistant on gun policy.