Six Years Since Sandy Hook
Today marks six years since the lives of twenty first graders and six educators were taken inside the Sandy Hook Elementary school in Newtown, Connecticut. As we do every year, Safe Tennessee will post and tweet about each of the victims throughout the day.
“This is by far one of the most difficult things we do,” said Beth Joslin Roth, policy director for The Safe Tennessee Project. “But, we believe it’s important that we never forget what happened that day. And it’s important to note that in the six years since, the U.S. Congress has not taken a single step to prevent future tragedies.
Not one step. In fact, there have been nearly 300 school shootings since Sandy Hook, not to mention the everyday toll of gun violence that takes almost 40,000 lives every single year.”
In the last six years, gun violence has continued to rise across the country, and here in Tennessee. Last year marked a record-high for gun-related deaths in the U.S. in nearly four decades, according to new data from Centers for Disease Control. Nearly 40,000 people were killed by guns last year in homicides, suicides, legal interventions, and unintentional shootings, an average of around 106 people every single day.
2017 had previously been deemed the deadliest for mass shootings, following massacres such as the Route 91 concert shooting in Las Vegas and the Sutherland Springs church shooting in Texas. According to the Gun Violence Archive, there have been 330 mass shootings (incidents where four or more people are shot) so far in 2018. These include the horrific school shootings in Parkland, Florida and Santa Fe, Texas, the synagogue shooting in Pittsburgh, and the Borderline Bar shooting in Thousand Oaks, as well as the more far more common mass shootings that happen in homes, parking lots, and workplaces, but that often don’t make national news.
The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation released a first of its kind report on gun violence in our state last December. The report found that violent crime with a firearm in Tennessee increased nearly 25 percent from 2013 to 2016, and that the number of reported murders involving a firearm increased by 54 percent during that time period.
“While other states, under pressure from voters and especially young people, have taken action and passed gun law reform legislation, Tennessee lawmakers have instead continued the push to further loosen our lax gun laws, in opposition to the wishes of Tennessee voters, even as our homicide and firearm suicide numbers break records” Roth said. “The majority of Tennesseans support stricter laws on gun sales. Support for stricter laws on carrying guns has risen as well. We hope that in 2019, legislators will listen to voters and pass common sense gun laws that can reduce the gun violence that continues to plague our communities.”