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Tennessee Mayors Rally Behind Secure Storage Legislation in Push to Address Gun Crime

March 16, 2023

In a Letter to the Tennessee State Legislature, Mayors of Nashville, Shelby County, Knoxville, and Chattanooga Call for the Passage of  Life-Saving Legislation to Require Secure Storage in Vehicles 

Today, 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 applauding Mayors Against Illegal Guns co-chair, Mayor Tim Kelly of Chattanooga, Mayor John Cooper of Nashville, Mayor Lee Harris of Shelby County, and Mayor Indya Kincannon of Knoxville for calling on the Tennessee State Legislature in a letter to pass HB1233/SB1029. If passed, this legislation would require gun owners to securely store firearms in cars, boats, or other unattended vehicles and enforce a penalty for those who fail to secure their guns. 

“There is no higher calling as an elected public servant than to keep your constituents safe — passing this legislation is a common-sense gun safety measure that will save lives,” said Mayor Tim Kelly, co-chair of Mayors Against Illegal Guns. “I am proud to stand by my fellow Mayors who recognize our duty to keep our communities safe, and welcome the opportunity to work with lawmakers to pass this vital legislation.”

“We applaud the leadership of mayors across Tennessee who recognize that properly securing firearms is one of the most effective ways to prevent people who shouldn’t have guns from getting their hands on them,” said Linda McFadyen-Ketchum, a volunteer with the Tennessee chapter of Moms Demand Action. “With staggering numbers of stolen guns from cars being used in crimes, we hope that our lawmakers will follow the lead of these gun sense mayors and prioritize the safety of our communities by passing this critical legislation.” 

“Year after year, Tennessee lawmakers pass laws to make it easier for people to steal guns from cars and bring them into places like our schools and other places they don’t belong,” said Jayce Pollard, a volunteer with the Tennessee chapter of Students Demand Action.” “I am proud that our Mayors are stepping up to support this life-saving legislation that can reduce gun violence in our communities.”

Research from Everytown for Gun Safety Support Fund finds that in cities that report data to the FBI, gun thefts from cars are now the largest source of stolen guns—one that continues rising in parallel with rising rates of gun sales and violence. Tennessee is home to ​​two of the top five cities with the highest rates of gun theft from cars in the nation, prompting statewide action to address gun violence in the state driven by stolen guns. Memphis, Tenneseee  ranks number one out of the five cities with the highest rates of gun thefts from cars, followed by Chattanooga. 

While guns can be stolen in a variety of ways (e.g., pickpocketing, burglary, robbery), in 2020, over half (52 percent) were stolen from cars. In effect, an average of at least one gun is stolen from a car every 15 minutes, amounting to an estimated 40,000 guns stolen from cars in 2020 across these 271 cities. Secure storage laws are a crucial part of the solution. 

In an average year in Tennessee, 1,385 people die by guns. Gun violence costs Tennessee $18 billion each year. More information on gun violence in Tennessee is available here.

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