TENNESSEE HAS BEEN LOOSENING GUN LAWS FOR A DECADE. HAS IT MADE US SAFER?
For the last decade, the Tennessee legislature has passed legislation to loosen the state’s gun laws. Legislators argue that laws allowing more people to carry guns more places will make our communities safer. But, are they right?
GUN LAWS PASSED IN TENNESSEE
“Guns in Bars” law allows any gun permit holder to carry a loaded gun, open or concealed in bars and restaurants.
The “Guns in Bars” bill sponsor who assured fellow legislators that permit holders would never consume alcohol while carrying their gun was arrested for DUI in 2011. A loaded handgun was found in the vehicle, stuffed between the drivers’ seat and center console.
“Guns in Trunks” law allows any gun permit holder to store a firearm in their vehicle, even if the vehicle is parked on property that prohibits guns. The legislation is strongly opposed by business owners.
“Guns in Trunks” law expanded to allow any gun owner, not just gun permit holders, to store a firearm in their vehicle.
“Guns in Parks” law allows any gun permit holder to carry a gun in city and state-owned parks, including those used by and adjacent to schools. The legislation is strongly opposed by education administrators and law enforcement.
“Guns on Campus” law allows any gun permit holder who is a faculty member or full time employee to carry guns on any public college or university campus. The legislation is opposed by college administrators, campus police chiefs, and law enforcement.
Memphis breaks a two decade homicide record in 2016. Memphis consistently has a higher murder rate than Chicago.
“Guns on Buses” law allows any gun permit holder to carry a gun on public transportation. Educators whose students use public buses to travel to and from schools, and the mayors and city councils of each of the four major cities in the state oppose the legislation and ask for the ability to opt out. The bill sponsors include language in the bill to allow individuals or outside organizations to sue a city for triple damages if they don’t comply with the law.
In 2017, Knoxville breaks a 19-year homicide record and Nashville comes close to breaking an all-time homicide record. 2017 is reported to be the bloodiest year for Nashville youths in over a decade.
Have these laws reduced gun violence in our state? Have they reduced the number of homicides or had any impact on the number of young people in Tennessee being shot and killed? Have they resulted in fewer people suffering gun shot injuries? Fewer people unintentionally shooting themselves or others?
Look at the data and decide for yourself.
Since 2010, the rate of firearm homicides in Tennessee has increased 58 percent.
Since 2010, the rate of youth firearm homicides in Tennessee has increased 115 percent.
Since 2010, the rate of firearm injuries in Tennessee has increased 33 percent.
Since 2010, the rate of unintentional firearm injuries in Tennessee has increased 84 percent.
Based on most recent CDC, Health Department, and FBI data, Tennessee is currently:
11th for firearm mortality
7th for firearm homicide
4th for youth (ages 0-19) firearm mortality
4th for youth firearm homicide
5th for women murdered by men (most often with a firearm & almost always by a man they know)
8th for black homicide victimization
12th for youth firearm suicide
Every day in Tennessee, 1-2 people will use a gun to take their own life