NASHVILLE, Tenn. – The Tennessee chapters of Moms Demand Action and Students Demand Action, both part of Everytown for Gun Safety’s grassroots network, released the following statement in response to Belmont University freshman Jillian Ludwig being shot and killed Tuesday afternoon blocks from campus. Reports show that Ludwig was hit in the head by a bullet meant for a car across the street. The shooter was arrested and charged with aggravated assault and evidence tampering.
“Going out for a walk shouldn’t be a death sentence, but because of our country’s gun violence crisis, it is. There’s no reason Jillian shouldn’t be alive today,” said Isabella Hipp, a gun violence survivor and volunteer with Belmont University Students Demand Action. “Unrestricted access to guns is killing my generation left and right for simply going about our daily lives. It has to stop. We cannot allow Tennessee politicians to continue to choose the ‘guns everywhere agenda’ over our right to live.”
The shooter was previously charged with shooting others in the past, but the charges were dismissed after the shooter was declared mentally incompetent to stand trial. To prevent gun violence Tennessee must strengthen its weak gun laws – weak gun laws enable easy access to guns by people with a demonstrated history of dangerous behavior.
This past special session, Tennessee lawmakers attempted to further weaken gun laws, despite daily tragedies like these. Research shows states with the weakest gun laws have higher rates of gun violence than states with stronger gun laws. Tennessee currently has the 12th highest rate of gun deaths in the United States and some of the weakest gun laws in the country. Guns are the number one killer of children and teens in the U.S. and Tennessee.
To speak with a Tennessee Students Demand Action volunteer, please do not hesitate to reach out to [email protected].