Congressman Steve Cohen

Representing the 9th District of Tennessee

Congressman Cohen Recommends Addressing Gun Violence with Safer Streets Act

September 26, 2019
Press Release
Hearing addresses disproportionate impact of gun violence in communities of color

WASHINGTON – Congressman Steve Cohen (TN-09) today questioned witnesses at a House Judiciary Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism and Homeland Securing examining “Community Responses to Violence in Our Cities,” noting that Memphis is affected by poverty and violent crime. Congressman Cohen also described his H.R. 3738the Safer Streets Act, which would provide grants to communities with twice the national rate, or higher rates, of violent crime. 

See his questioning of witness Reggie Moore, director of the Office of Violence Prevention, City of Milwaukee Health Department here.

A recent study conducted by the Violence Policy Center indicates Tennessee has one of the highest African American homicide rates in the nation and African Americans are disproportionately reported as victims of homicide.  Of the 323 African American homicide victims in 2016, 87 percent were killed by gunshot wounds. Nationwide in 2016, although African Americans represented only 13 percent of the population, homicides of African Americans made up 51 percent of all reports. 

Congressman Cohen said, “It is devastating for a community to hear of another senseless death of a promising young person.” In describing the Safer Streets Act, he said, “I think it makes sense to put the money where the problem is.” 

Congressman Cohen also submitted into the hearing record a Daily Memphian three-part series article on the impact of the stress and trauma of gun violence, a Commercial Appeal article about the Tennessee homicide rate, and a study published by the Violence Policy Center.  

The articles and study can be seen here: 

Daily Memphian 

https://dailymemphian.com/subscriber/section/special-projects/article/6910/memphis-brainpower-counters-attacks-of-trauma 

The Commercial Appeal 

https://www.commercialappeal.com/story/news/crime/2019/05/31/tennessee-homicide-rate-statewide-national-average-ranking-high-rising/1290957001/ 

The Violence Policy Center 

http://vpc.org/studies/blackhomicide19.pdf