Tomorrow marks four years since a shooter opened fire at a Waffle House outside Nashville, killing four, wounding four others, and leaving an entire community devastated. Earlier this year, the shooter was found guilty on four counts of murder. Still, the tragic loss continues to reverberate for the families of Taurean Sanderlin, Joey Perez, Akilah Dasilva, and DeEbony Groves.
Four years later, state lawmakers have yet to make meaningful progress on gun safety, despite the hard work and common-sense solutions put up by advocates. Instead, they continue to push dangerous legislation that would further weaken the state’s gun laws. Just today, the Tennessee House of Representatives voted to pass HB1735, a bill that would lower the age requirement for carrying a concealed handgun in public without a permit from 21 to 18. Throughout this session, legislators have attempted and failed to pass an entire suite of harmful gun bills.
Though this year’s legislative session is drawing to a close, the work to make the state safe from gun violence must continue. To address the state’s ongoing gun violence crisis, state lawmakers, alongside other state and local leaders, must prioritize public safety and advance a common sense gun safety agenda that would reduce gun deaths and save lives — starting with taking action on secure firearm storage, creating a process for obtaining Extreme Risk Protection Orders, and funding Community Violence Intervention programs through Governor Lee’s $150M Crime Prevention Fund proposal.
What to know about gun violence in Tennessee:
- In Tennessee, on average, 1,273 people are shot and killed with a gun every year.
- An average of 519 people in Tennessee die by gun homicide every year; Tennessee has the eighth highest rate of gun homicide in the United States.
- Black people in Tennessee are more than nine times as likely to die by gun homicide as white people.
- Firearms are the leading cause of death for children and teens in Tennessee. In an average year, 117 children and teens die by gun in Tennessee, and 62% of these deaths are homicides.
- Gun violence costs Tennessee $9 billion each year, of which $433.2 million is paid by taxpayers.
More information about gun violence in Tennessee is available here.