192 Tennesseans killed by gunfire since Republicans ended session without new gun safety reform
364 more people suffered gunshot wounds since April 21: TNUnderTheGun.com
NASHVILLE — Pleas for gun safety reform from parents and students erupted in Tennessee after a shooter killed six people, including three 9-year-olds, in a 15-minute assault at The Covenant School on March 27.
Thousands of people from all walks of life and across the political spectrum joined together peacefully and called on the Tennessee General Assembly to take action to prevent future shootings.
But their voices were ignored. And on April 21, the Republican majority ended session without taking action on any gun safety reform.
Since that day, there have been at least 436 firearm incidents in the state, resulting in the deaths of 192 people, including 23 children, according to news reports compiled on TNUnderTheGun.com.
The website documents that an additional 328 adults and 36 children have been injured by gunfire in the same timeframe.
TNUnderTheGun.com, a project of the Senate Democratic Caucus, is tracking shootings throughout Tennessee and showcasing the data to underscore the deadly consequences of gun violence.
The website lists in chronological order and with hyperlinks reported shootings that have taken place in Tennessee since April 21. The death and injury data used to track recent shootings is sourced from local news outlets and the Gun Violence Archive, a nonprofit that tracks shooting incidents daily.
The data is alarming, but it’s also an undercount of gun violence because some shootings never receive news coverage and some victims die after initial stories are published.
Special session should focus on ending gun violence
With lawmakers coming back to the state Capitol on Aug. 21 for a special-called legislative session on public safety, Sen. Charlane Oliver, D-Nashville, said it was important for the public to know the consequences of inaction.
“Republican lawmakers blocked legislation to prevent gun violence in April and our families are paying the price with their lives,” said Sen. Oliver. “Our children and families are worthy of leaders who will work to keep them safe by stopping the next shooting before it happens.
“Allowing anyone to get a gun and slaughter our loved ones is a policy choice we don’t need to keep making,” she said.
Sen. Oliver says Democrats will sponsor a variety of bills to keep children and families safe from gun violence. They say action is needed urgently to respond to the state’s epidemic of gun violence.
Troubling gun violence statistics, found on TNUnderTheGun.com, are helping make their case.
The site is also tracking recent mass shootings, like the one that occurred at The Covenant School. As of Aug. 15, a total of 29 Tennesseans have died in mass shootings, a new record. Ten of the victims were children.
Fatal shootings trend upward
In addition to recent firearm incidents, the website includes the latest annual CDC research on gun violence, which shows that 1,569 Tennesseans — a record number — were killed by firearms in 2021, marking a staggering 58 percent surge in fatalities compared to a decade ago.
That’s roughly one person dying from gunshot wounds every 5.6 hours.
In fact, gunshot wounds were the leading cause of death for juveniles in the state in 2021 and 2022.
The increase in gun violence is even worse when looking at intentional firearm homicides. The number of Tennesseans who were fatally shot in a homicide more than doubled from 2011 to 2021 for both adults and children — increasing 120 percent for victims of all ages and 155 percent for juvenile victims ages 0–17.
Compared to other states, Tennessee is an outlier on gun deaths. The Volunteer State exceeds the national average in three critical categories: firearm fatalities, firearm homicides, and firearm suicides.
Notably, Tennessee ranks 11th in the nation for its percentage of people who die from gunshot wounds and holds the distressing distinction of being ninth in the U.S. for the percentage of children falling victim to fatal firearm injuries.
Statistics show a clear correlation between the surge in gun violence in Tennessee and the dismantling of gun safety regulations by Republican lawmakers since 2010.
After Republicans gained control of the legislature, their party passed laws to allow guns in cars, parks and city buses, and later to let people go armed in public without training or background checks.
The number of firearm-related deaths in the state just keeps climbing.
Giffords Law Center, a nonprofit research organization that tracks and analyzes firearm legislation in all 50 states, gave Tennessee lawmakers an “F” for gun policies on its annual report card on gun laws.
“Since we started this project in 2010, the evidence has been clear and consistent: strong gun laws save lives, but only in the states that are willing to act,” the Giffords website says.