On average, there is at least one murder-suicide incident every day in our country. In some cases, there are no external warning signs while in others, there is a history of domestic violence.
Tennessee is ranked 9th in the nation for women murdered by men, most often with a firearm. Also, every year in our state, around 600 people will use a gun to take their own life. Gun suicides are unique in both their impulsivity and their lethality. Firearms are also by far the most common means of suicide, making up around 2/3rds of suicides in Tennessee. In cases of murder suicides, these two types of gun violence converge in devastating tragedies that leave families destroyed. Often it is loved ones who make the grisly discovery.
We see a number of these in Tennessee each year. So far, just four weeks into 2017, there have already been two such incidents in our state.
On January 24th, a Donelson man shot and killed his live-in girlfriend then killed himself. The woman’s 15-year-old daughter found her murdered mother. Investigators later found the man’s body.
On January 31st, a mail carrier in East Ridge found a suspicious note in a mailbox and alerted authorities. Police entered the home where they found a middle aged couple, both dead from gunshot wounds.
Generally speaking, people choose to keep guns in their home for self-protection. This is their second amendment right and there is no advocacy group suggesting that the right be taken away. However, it is important for people to understand that there are inherent risks associated with keeping a gun in the home and to understand the inconvenient truth that a gun in the home greatly increases the odds of someone in the home being shot and killed, using the gun to kill themselves, or a child unintentionally shooting themselves or someone else.
In fact, according to research studies compiled by The Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence:
Guns kept in the home are more likely to be involved in a fatal or nonfatal unintentional shooting, criminal assault or suicide attempt than to be used to injure or kill in self-defense. Rather than conferring protection, guns in the home are associated with an increased risk of homicide by a family member or intimate acquaintance.
So, although it is absolutely the right of a law abiding American to have a gun in their home, anyone considering keeping a gun at home must be aware of the risks associated with their choice.