NASHVILLE, TN (WSMV) - A three-year-old is in critical condition after they were shot in the head on Monday.
The gun used had been reported stolen from a truck in Nashville one year ago.
Firearms stolen from vehicles
|*No data before 2016 available from Davidson County|
|**Wilson County numbers for all firearm thefts, not just from vehicles|
“I just heard a gunshot go off. Heard people screaming and crying,” said a neighbor. “When I knew it was a baby, it kind of just broke my heart.”
News4 Investigates has tracked reports from police departments around Middle Tennessee showing how common gun thefts from vehicles are in the city.
From 2016 to 2018 the number of guns stolen from cars in Nashville has almost doubled. A dangerous trend also seen statewide.
“A gun in the wrong hands is a very dangerous weapon,” said Murfreesboro Police Detective Sgt. Tommy Massey.
In Middle Tennessee, many cities and counties have seen vehicle theft numbers trend up since 2014.
In 2014, a law went into effect making it legal for anyone who’s not a convicted felon to have a loaded gun in their car without a handgun carry permit.
“I think that is one reason you’ve seen the spike in the last four years,” Massey said. “It’s like supply and demand.”
John Harris, Executive Director of the Tennessee Firearms Association, doesn’t think it’s that cut and dry.
“We’ve got a crime problem,” Harris said. “We’ve got more people than we had 10 years ago, so we’ve got more cars.”
What both sides can agree on is that gun owners need to be more responsible.
“This is in no way an attack on the Second Amendment or the right to keep a firearm in their vehicle,” said Beth Joslin Roth with Safe Tennessee. “We’re really begging them to be responsible.”
“They should be taking those guns into the house,” Harris said. “If they really have to do it, get them some sort of secure box.”
Secure car gun safes can be bolted to the bottom of your car and have multiple locks to keep them secure. They also don't break the bank. News4 found them available at Royal Range in Bellevue for under $30.
Security that could prevent another tragedy like the one on Monday.
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