Preventable Gun Violence Tragedy in Tennessee Underscores Urgency of Passing Gun Violence Prevention Policies Across U.S., Including New Hampshire
With weaker gun laws than Tennessee, inaction is no longer an option for New Hampshire’s people and policymakers
CONCORD, NH – On Monday morning, three 9 year old students and three staff were shot dead at the Covenant Grade School in Nashville, TN. This is America’s 90th school shooting this year per the K-12 School Shooting Database. And according to the Gun Violence Archive, there have already been 129 mass shootings so far this year. The Tennessee shooter, who was a former student and armed with two assault-style rifles and a handgun, was shot dead by the police.
It is once again more clear that we, as a country, are failing to protect our children’s lives. It’s also clear that state gun safety laws matter. Tennessee has some of the weakest gun laws in the country and tragically high rates of gun violence – according to Everytown’s gun law ranking platform, Tennessee scores only 16.5 out of 100 for gun law strength. Tennessee has no laws regulating the purchase and possession of assault weapons. In an average year, 1,385 people die by guns in Tennessee and the rate of gun homicide increased 110% in the last 10 years (2012-2021). Guns are now the leading cause of death among Tennessee children and teens. Despite the lives taken on a daily basis in Tennessee, state lawmakers have only continued to tear down existing gun safety protections. That’s unacceptable.
“With gun laws even weaker than Tennessee’s, New Hampshire lawmakers must take action before a school or community in our state makes national headlines due to tragedy,” said Zandra Rice Hawkins, director of GunSense NH, a project of Granite State Progress. “Now more than ever, our state leaders must do their part to address the epidemic of gun violence that continues to harm our communities and our futures.”
The failure of Congress to pass more meaningful gun safety legislation has resulted in record-high deaths from firearms. Gun violence is the leading cause of death for children and teens for the last two years — and a largely preventable one. While Congress and too many New Hampshire state legislators continue to protect the powerful gun lobby and uniquely unregulated gun industry, we are failing to protect our most vulnerable and precious citizens.