“Once again, we find ourselves struggling to comprehend yet another mass shooting and staggering loss of life.  One again, our hearts are broken for the families of those who were lost, many of whom were children.  Our thoughts are with those still fighting for their lives, with the first responders, and the entire Sutherland Springs community.

Since the Sandy Hook shooting nearly 5 years ago, there have been over 1500 mass shootings. In that time, Congress has done nothing to address this shameful problem that is unique to our nation.  And, in that time, state legislatures, including the Tennessee General Assembly, have actually loosened already lax gun laws, while at the same time blocking efforts such as expanding background checks.”

As more details emerge about the gunman, he appears to be like so many others before him: an angry man, obsessed with guns, with a history of domestic violence. There is a rush to label him as “mentally ill” when in fact, he was just another violent person full of hate with easy access to a military-style rifle.

Although there is no single law that will stop all shootings, there are a number of evidence-based polices that could reduce them.  Strengthening the existing background check system and expanding it to include private sales is a good start and favored by the vast majority of Americans and Tennesseans.

And, while we acknowledge that there may always be ways for determined “bad guys” to get their hands on a gun, once again we find ourselves asking why lawmakers want to make it so easy for them to do so.”

– Beth Joslin Roth
Safe Tennessee Project Policy Director

Three of deadliest mass shootings in our nation’s history have occurred in the last two years.  

Las Vegas, Nevada – October 1, 2017 – 58 killed
Orlando, Florida – June 12, 2016 – 49 killed
Sutherland Springs, Texas – November 5, 2017 – 26 killed

Two of them occurred in the last 35 days.

There have been 307 mass shootings in America this year, according to the Gun Violence Archive. There have been 310 days so far this year.  There has been a mass shooting nearly everyday in 2017.  Thirteen occurred in Tennessee and resulted in 6 deaths and 60 murders.

Total mass shootings in 2016 – 383
Total mass shootings in 2015 – 333
Total mass shootings in 2014 – 273

According to data compiled by the Gun Violence Archive, in addition to the 26 killed and 20 injured at the Texas church shooting yesterday, another 40 people were shot and killed and 80 more were shot and injured, along with about 60 who used a gun to commit suicide.
According to a report released Friday by the Centers for Disease Control, firearm death rate rose to 12 deaths per 100,000 people in 2016, up from 11 in 2015.  Before that, the rate had hovered just above 10 — a level it had fallen to in the late 1990s.