Accidental Shooting Numbers Climb As Lawmakers Consider Several “Guns on Campus” Bills

In Memphis yesterday, a man accidentally shot and injured himself at a local Walgreens. This was the 17th accidental shooting incident involving an adult so far this year. There were 17 total incidents in all of 2015. Using news reports and data from The Gun Violence Archive, The Safe Tennessee Project tracks all accidental shooting incidents reported in the media.

“The number of adult accidental shootings is nearly triple what it was this time last year. It’s pretty astonishing,” said Beth Joslin Roth, policy director for The Safe Tennessee Project. “The numbers are especially troubling as numerous bills currently being considered could expand where guns are carried. Considering the frequency of these unintentional shooting incidents, we’re concerned about guns being brought onto school campuses.”

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*These numbers reflect adult-related accidental shootings only. They do not include accidental shootings involving minors.

There were ten incidents in February alone. In one ten day period, there were six accidental shootings. At least two involved individuals with valid permits, including a man who unintentionally shot himself at work and another who unintentionally discharged his gun outside a busy restaurant. One incident involved a person with an expired permit who shot himself as he reached into his pocket for his cell phone. Another involved a Greeneville City official who accidentally shot himself as he was exiting his city-owned vehicle. He later died from his injuries.

“Although the bills to allow guns in more public places apply only to permit holders, we know that unfortunately permit holders are not immune from accidental shootings,” Roth said. “Even with their permit training, these unintentional shootings happen. When it comes to sensitive places like school campuses, we agree with law enforcement that guns are best left in the hands of experienced professionals.”

The Centers for Disease Control ranks Tennessee 9th in the nation for accidental shootings.

A list of all 2016 accidental shootings incidents can be found here.

A list of all 2015 accidental shooting incidents can be found here.