Mayor's Youth Council holds public meeting on gun violence in Chattanooga
The mayor's Youth Council held a meeting Wednesday night to discuss gun violence in Chattanooga and what can be done to decrease it.
Mayor Berke's Youth Council came up with ideas on what they believe could lower gun violence in Chattanooga, and students like Isabel Harper believe this is an issue that affects everyone.
"That's why we are all here. To kind of talk about it and address it. Not have it be something as silent and talk to people who are truly affected and see how we can come up with solutions together,” Harper said.
Five groups spoke at the meeting.
Each saying what they believe is the key to lowering gun violence in the city.
"There are preventative measures as a city we can take. Through proactive, educational, and relationship approaches,” Student Julia Becker said.
Some students proposed funds for more programs helping shooting victims.
Mayor Berke was ecstatic to see high school students come up with ideas and solutions that politicians haven’t even considered.
"To see juniors and seniors in high school assert leadership, talk about leadership, and doing this really smartly and passionately,” Berke said.
Chattanooga Police have responded to more than 70 shootings so far in 2019.
That number is down compared to last year, and Berke wants to see those numbers continue to drop.
"Any violence that we see in our community is too much. We have seen out gun gang violence numbers go down, but that doesn't mean we should satisfied with where we are and we should keep working,” Berke said.
The council meeting comes as U.S Attorney General William Barr announced Project Guardian Wednesday afternoon.
The project would focus on enforcing background checks and more penalties for those who carry a gun without a permit. But, Harper believes more can be done.
"This has been an issue that's been going on for a long time. And it's only getting larger. So, I think now is as good as a time as any. But, it really should have come sooner,” Harper said.
Berke, along with his council, believe the local conversation continues.
"We still see gun violence in our community. I think there is a gun violence problem in the entire United States,” Berke said.
Harper hopes Wednesday’s meeting can spark more legislation in Tennessee.