Nashville woman calling for 'common sense' gun reform - WSMV Channel 4

Nashville woman calling for 'common sense' gun reform

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NASHVILLE, TN (WSMV) -

Most of us won't know violent crime like Jennifer Charles.

"It's something that could happen anywhere," she said.

The Nashville woman survived an armed robbery at 16, but remembers it like it was yesterday.

"I was working at a Baskin Robbins in Brentwood. And an individual came in and he held myself and my co-worker at gunpoint and robbed the store. And then he put us both in the ice cream freezer," she said.

Now as an attorney and a mom, she has turned her attention to activism.

This week, new statistics added fuel to her fight for what she calls "common sense" gun reform in the form of enhanced background checks.

"This is about keeping guns out of the hands of people who have already been in the criminal justice system and who have been adjudicated mentally deficient, or have been committed involuntarily," Charles said.

The FBI reported 41,550 violent crimes in Tennessee in 2012, including murder, rape, robbery and aggravated assault. The number jumped 6.8 percent in just a year.

"This issue cuts across political lines. It shouldn't be politicized at all," Charles said.

When it released the numbers, the FBI warned against state-to-state comparisons, but the headline made news anyway.

The state's Department of Safety offered other context. It reports violent crime dipped 12.6 percent through August compared to the same time frame last year.

Despite the discrepancy, some still see a chance to reignite a heated debate.

"It's one of many issues that I hope will be brought up in the midterm elections," Charles said.

It turns out that state and federal law enforcement agencies crunch crime numbers differently, and that explains the differences in those conclusions.

The governor's spokesman said the state's top leaders continue to work a strategic plan to improve public safety.

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