Once again, Tennessee One of the Worst States for Black Homicide Victimization

Black Homicide Victimization is an annual report prepared by the Violence Policy Center representing an analysis of the unpublished Supplementary Homicide Report (SHR) data for black homicide victimization submitted to the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI).

 Tennessee is yet again one of the worst states in the entire country for black homicide victimization.

In Tennessee, the most recent Violence Policy Center study finds that in 2017:

  • Of the 336 black homicide victims, 296 were male and 40 were female.
  • Thirty-one black homicide victims (9 percent) were less than 18 years old and 5 victims (2 percent) were 65 years of age or older. The average age was 30 years old.
  • When the weapon used could be identified, 92 percent of the black homicide victims (288 out of 314) were killed with guns. Of these, 71 percent (205 victims) were killed with handguns.
  • For homicides in which the victim to offender relationship could be identified, 72 percent of black homicide victims (147 out of 205) were killed by someone they knew. Fifty-eight were killed by strangers.
  • For homicides in which the circumstances could be identified, 73 percent (119 out of 164) were not related to the commission of any other felony. Of these, 61 percent (73 homicides) involved arguments between the victim and the offender.

Black Homicide Victimization in Tennessee: 2007 – 2017

The data below is from the years 2007 Р2017, the last year for which data was available. 

Although not every one of these homicides was committed with a firearm, in any given year, between 70 and 92 percent of Tennessee black homicide victims were shot and killed with guns.

Nationally, in homicides of black victims with an identified weapon, a gun was used 87 percent of the time.




> Expand background checks for all gun sales
> Implement extreme risk protection orders
> Strengthen firearm dispossession laws for convicted domestic abusers
> Implement safe storage laws requiring guns to be secured in locked vehicles to prevent gun theft
> Provide funding for community groups and violence interrupters working in communities most impacted by gun violence
> Provide funding for “safe storage” PSAs to encourage gun owners to secure guns left in vehicles to prevent gun thefts
> Provide funding for research to study key drivers of gun violence in Tennessee