10 Ways to Prevent Gun Violence in Tennessee

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Gun violence is a growing problem in Tennessee. As we are shaken repeatedly by mass shootings, we know that there is more to the problem. Accidental shootings, domestic violence, altercations among acquaintances and suicides are part of the problem.

Conventional wisdom says that we would face extremely difficult odds to do something about the problem in a red state. We don't care about the odds. We must take action if we are to solve this problem and reduce the number of preventable deaths due to gun violence. We are putting forth our solutions, and encouraging others to join us or share their own solutions.

To that end, Democrats in the Tennessee General Assembly will work tirelessly on legislation to prevent gun violence in the next legislation. Some of these are new. Some were introduced in previous years and will be introduced again in 2017.

Here are 10 evidence-based initiatives that would reduce gun violence in Tennessee.

1. Pass Terrorist Watch List Legislation

SB 1963/HB 2023 by Sen. Jeff Yarbro and Rep. Bill Beck would have prohibited the sale of firearms to persons who are listed on the federal terrorist watchlist. SB 2468/HB 2596 by Sen. Lee Harris and Rep. Jason Powell would have required the TBI to consult with the Department of Safety and the FBI to determine whether any handgun carry permit holders are on the federally maintained no fly list and report the number of permit holders on the list to the General Assembly each year.

2. Pass increased penalties for firearm sellers who do not conduct background checks

SB 2310/HB 2366 by Sen. Sara Kyle and Rep. Mike Stewart would have created a Class C misdemeanor if the seller of such firearm intends to sell the firearm or does sell the firearm, without conducting a background check on the buyer.

3. Pass common sense gun purchasing legislation

SB 2311/HB 2365 by Sen. Sara Kyle and Rep. Mike Stewart would have required that when neither the seller or purchaser of a firearm is a licensed gun dealer, the transaction must be completed through a licensed gun dealer and the dealer must perform the same background check required for purchases from licensed gun dealers.

4. Pass Gun Violence Restraining Order (GVRO) legislation

SB 2035/ HB 2546 by Sen. Lee Harris and Rep. Johnnie Turner would have created a mechanism for concerned family members or law enforcement officers to petition a court for a Gun Violence Restraining Order (GVRO) when there is sufficient evidence for a judge to believe that an individual may pose a danger to themselves or others. The GVRO would temporarily prohibit the individual form purchasing or possessing firearms and allow law enforcement to temporarily remove any firearms in the individual’s possession.

5. Pass MaKayla’s Law

SB 2294/HB 2058 by Sen. Sara Kyle and Rep. Sherry Jones would have held adult gun owners responsible if they left a loaded gun accessible to a child under 13 who fired the gun and injured or killed themselves or someone else.

6. Pass Safe Storage Posting Legislation

SB 2421/HB 2452 by Sen. Jeff Yarbro and Rep. Joe Towns would have required firearms dealers who sell firearms to the public to post visible signs at the point of sale informing purchasers of safe storage recommendations for firearms.

7. Pass Guns in Parks Exemption

SB 1432/HB 14069 by Sen. Lee Harris and Rep. John Ray Clemmons would have created an exemption to the Guns in Parks law prohibiting a handgun carry permit holder from carrying a firearm when entering a public park or an event occurring at the park if a ticket is required for entry and the park is owned or operated by a county or municipality, or company contracting with the government to conduct the event. It further prohibits firearms in arenas, stadiums, and structures where a professional sports team plays, practices or trains.

8. Pass legislation, similar to Hawaii’s landmark legislation, to enroll gun owners in the FBI system.

This will help alert authorities when a gun owner is arrested for a criminal offense anywhere in the country, allowing state authorities to evaluate whether the firearm owner can continue to possess and own weapons.

9. Pass legislation to tighten domestic violence offender loopholes so they can no longer access weapons.

Let’s verify that people who have been served an order of protection or have been convicted of domestic violence are prohibited from possessing guns.

10. Pass legislation to require the State of Tennessee to study and research policies, trends and patterns on firearm violence within our state.

 

Add your voice. Comment below and tell us what you think should be done to combat gun violence in Tennessee.

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  • commented 2017-11-07 17:32:19 -0600
    I would love to see a complete accounting of the medical and other social/economic/legal costs of gun violence. This would include rehabilitation/disability costs for those who survive, as well as the emotional and financial costs of suicide/homicide by gun to families of the victims. Gun proliferation has resulted in other costs such as metal detectors at public places, and increased security personnel in multiple venues. All of these, as well as increased general societal fear, are simply “externalities” for the gun industry.
  • commented 2017-11-07 15:25:56 -0600
    For the “no guns in parks” (or other restricted places) to work, there would have to be metal detectors at all of these locations. Otherwise, the only people to comply to these laws would be law-abiding citizens, leaving them vulnerable to attack by criminals.
  • commented 2017-05-07 07:00:55 -0500
    That’s a great review… but education, specially with manipulating guns are essential as well!
    Augusto Cury https://carreiraeempreendedorismo.com/gerenciando-ansiedade-augusto-cury
  • commented 2016-07-11 12:45:31 -0500
    I wonder if requiring insurance for weapons and ammunition would be useful.
    Guns and ammunition should be taxed at a higher rate to contribute to paying for the heavy cost of gun violence.
  • commented 2016-07-09 02:24:39 -0500
    There are laws against child endangerment, against domestic violence, against driving drunk. People still drive drunk. There are laws against many things one might want to do that would be dangerous to others. Criminals break laws. Laws against carrying guns in public places would not stop a criminal from carrying a gun. So, what do we do about criminals? Is the answer freedom? Limit the size and cost of the government? That solution is a non-sequitur. The problem as stated is the growing gun violence in TN. The resolution should have something to do with that. It is not good enough to say, that won’t work. Freedom of speech has long been limited. To exercise my right to vote in this state, I had to get a Tennessee ID card or a drivers license. I had to show my state issued birth certificate, marriage license, and utility bill. I was licensed to drive and registered in another state, but TN put more conditions on my constitutional right to vote. Freedom of religion does not extend to dangerous or harmful practices. Unintended consequences are, indeed, a fact of life. When laws are passed and that happens, changes should be made. It does not follow that it is not necessary to study as many aspects of the problem as possible in order to pass laws or regulations. What do you think should be done to “combat gun violence in TN?” Nothing? The saying used to be, “you have the freedom to swing your fist, but not near my nose.” Your right to carry a gun ends when it endangers the freedom and safety of others (including your children).
  • commented 2016-07-08 22:55:08 -0500
    The Terror watch list is not accurate and contains many non-terrorists. http://www.washingtonpost.com/…/09/06/AR2007090601386.html
    No legal procedures exist regarding placing individuals on the watch list. Using the watch list to deny a right enumerated in the Bill of Rights violates an individual’s right to due process.
    Increasing penalties on not conducting background checks will not increase the number of background checks. Why would criminals be concerned about obeying the law? Firearms dealers that want to conduct the checks will and those that don’t want to do them will still not do them.
    How would legislation ensure that the transaction will be conducted by a licensed dealer? The same principle applies as with the background checks. Passing a law won’t make those who want to act outside the law act within the law. This type of law will probably make black market gun sales more popular and profitable.
    Divorce courts routinely issue domestic restraining orders without any finding of fact. No evidence exists that the procedures being conducted under the authority of Gun Violence Restraining Order legislation would be any different. The procedures are done by a hearing, not by the due process of a trial. Appealing or overturning restraining orders is not an easy task.
    While every gun owner should be responsible for how their guns are stored, especially around children, passing a law mandating this will not prevent careless behavior. Those who are responsible gun owners will take proper precautions. Those who are carless gun owners will not take proper precautions even if they are required by law. Just look at all the drivers that drive drunk each year. They all know it is against the law and that it is carless. Perhaps it would be a better idea if we taught children gun safety. Gun safety and firearms training were common in American high schools several decades ago. Many schools even had shooting clubs.
    The safe storage of guns is very similar to securing gun from access by children. Responsible gun owners will already do this. Passing a law will not make irresponsible gun owners more responsible. Gun owners may also want to keep their guns within easy access in case they need them for defense. Isn’t it kind of intrusive for the government to regulate what we do in our own homes?
    Prohibiting the carrying of gun anywhere, except on private property, clearly violates the rights enumerated in the second amendment. A vast majority of shootings occur in gun free zones, where the victims are unable to defend themselves. Criminals are not stopped by having a gun free zone posted. Why don’t we just prohibit carrying drugs in all those places as well? I am sure no one smokes pot in any of those places listed (public parks, events, arenas, stadiums and other professional sports team facilities) within Tennessee.
    I assume enrolling owners into the FBI system is some type of gun registration. What will be next, putting everyone on a free speech registry? That kind of misses the point of inalienable rights.
    Tighten domestic violence offender loopholes prohibiting offenders from possessing guns will not prevent them from getting guns. If they are prohibited from getting guns and they want one, they will go to the black market. Legislation like this will just increase black market demands and profitability.

    The state of Tennessee does not really need to study policies, trends, and patterns of firearm violence. I have been to the legislature on a number of occasions. During the debate of almost every bill someone will bring up why this law or that law need to be changed because of some unintended consequence. Freedom is the answer. We need to reduce the size, cost reach and power of the government.
  • commented 2016-07-08 14:50:05 -0500
    whole hearted agreement…
    Now can we finally agree that no one needs to carry an assault rifle?
  • commented 2016-07-07 20:59:16 -0500
    Yes x 10!
  • commented 2016-07-07 17:51:06 -0500
    Regardless of intent or argument, guns are lethal weapons. Ownership bears responsibility. If you own or sell a gun, a lethal weapon, you are responsible.
  • commented 2016-07-07 14:11:03 -0500
    Also, I did a write up a few weeks ago, and it is time to see the republicans forced to come up with “their plan” instead of just saying no to us. https://www.facebook.com/notes/chad-riggs/something-happened-involving-a-gun-as-usual-we-are-offered-the-choice-of-ban-the/10154644871927289
  • commented 2016-07-07 14:09:15 -0500
    My thoughts:
    1. Pass Terrorist Watch List Legislation
    -so long as we insure the no fly list and this list have the constitutional due process required in our country they currently lack

    2. Pass increased penalties for firearm sellers who do not conduct background checks
    -great

    3. Pass common sense gun purchasing legislation
    -so long as the is a cost of doing business that the firearms seller takes on as part of his licensure. NOT A NEW FEE.

    4. Pass Gun Violence Restraining Order (GVRO) legislation
    -Good, but this needs to be made palletable by adopting former Rep. Nathan Vaughn’s amendment to allow those who have been barred in the past (in his case, soldiers who seek treatment for PTSD) to regain those rights in some circumstances.

    5. Pass MaKayla’s Law
    -YEP

    6. Pass Safe Storage Posting Legislation
    -GREAT

    7. Pass Guns in Parks Exemption
    -YES, but I think this was better left to the local level, which they took away as an option.

    8. Pass legislation, similar to Hawaii’s landmark legislation, to enroll gun owners in the FBI system.
    -Not too crazy about this one or sure it is worth the cost/benefit. I do not know why the campaign is not to get people do not voluntarily do this for theft, etc.

    9. Pass legislation to tighten domestic violence offender loopholes so they can no longer access weapons.
    -Good, but this needs to be made palletable by adopting former Rep. Nathan Vaughn’s amendment to allow those who have been barred in the past (in his case, soldiers who seek treatment for PTSD) to regain those rights in some circumstances.

    10. Pass legislation to require the State of Tennessee to study and research policies, trends and patterns on firearm violence within our state.
    -NOT OUR JOB, that is the feds, just raise the damn fuel tax instead, and fix roads.
  • commented 2016-07-07 12:03:31 -0500
    I am ready to advocate to stop gun violence in TN. These 10 proposals are a common sense good start. Sign me up to help!