NASHVILLE, TN (WSMV) – Tennessee has a serious gun violence problem that continues to get worse, according to a new report released Monday.
Safe Tennessee Project calls gun violence a "public health crisis" and says an average of 3.4 Tennesseans are killed with guns every day.
"Last year, 1,246 Tennesseans were shot and killed – the highest number on record,” reads the report. It goes on to say "the rate of gun death in Tennessee is significantly higher than the U.S. average."
The 70-page report is filled with rankings that show the extent of the gun problem in Tennessee. Our state is ranked:
- 1st for accidental shootings of children
- 3rd most dangerous state (FBI Uniform Crime Report)
- 4th for firearm mortality and homicide for people under the age of 19 (CDC Data)
- 5th for women murdered by men (Violence Policy Center)
- 7th in firearm mortality (CDC Data)
- 8th for black homicide (Violence Policy Center)
On a per-capita basis, Memphis ranks 7th in the nation with 27.7 homicides per 100,000 residents. The city ranks ahead of Chicago, a city known for its gun violence. Nashville ranks 20th with 16.3 homicides per 100,000 residents.
Gun violence is estimated to cost Tennesseans $6 billion per year. The costs come from emergency care and other medical care, as well as court and prison costs, impacts on productivity and quality of life. Broken down by resident, gun violence costs each Tennessean approximately $928 every year.
The report calls for more research to be done to better understand what are the key drivers to gun violence in Tennessee. It includes multiple peer-reviewed studies showing Right-to-Carry (RTC) laws are associated with more violent crime and the states with stricter gun laws have lower death rates among children.
Read the full report here.