by: Bria Jones
MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Ahead of the looming special session, Democrats in the Tennessee legislature are teaming up with gun reform advocates to address gun violence statewide.
The “Our Children Deserve Better” bus tour made its first stop at National Civil Rights Museum in Memphis Wednesday. Lawmakers met with a crowd of supporters to discuss gun reform and show them their new plan in motion.
During the call to action, State Rep. Jesse Chism, who represents Memphis, revealed he’d just received that dreadful phone call that many have experienced.
“I come to you with a solemn heart right now because as of an hour ago. I got a phone call saying that I lost a family member to gun violence we’re speaking about right now,” he said. “We have to do something to bring people together so that we can come to the table of reason to get some of these guns off the street.”
As the wheels on the bus spin, they hope it’s enough to turn things around in the fight for gun control. The bus initiative created following the tragic Covenant School shooting will travel to multiple cities.
The journey will end in Nashville at the State Capitol on Aug. 21, which is set to be the first day of the special session called by Governor Lee to address public safety.
“I’m hopeful that we can get some gun legislation passed. Unfortunately, I’m a little disappointed in his call. His call deals with a lot of mental health issues, which is important, but it doesn’t deal with things like guns in cars,” said House Minority Leader Karen Camper.
It’s an issue plaguing Shelby County that District Attorney Steve Mulroy and County Mayor Lee Harris both hope is addressed.
“We see too many guns ending up in the criminal stream because of auto-break-ins,” Harris said.
“This county is flooded with guns. We have many, many, far too many people using guns to settle petty disputes that years ago would have never involved gunfire,” Mulroy said.
“Ending gun violence and protecting our children is not a partisan issue. This is an issue in which everyone can get on board,” said State Rep. and House Democratic Caucus Chairman John Ray Clemmons.
The bus will continue its journey Thursday to Jackson.
Lawmakers are asking for people who can help to donate gas money.