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Tennessee has one of the worst gun violence problems in the country

A record number of Tennesseans were killed by guns in 2021.

 

Based on the most recent data available, 4.3 Tennesseans are fatally shot every single day in our state. That's one person every 5.6 hours.

Tennessee is currently:

  • 11th for overall firearm fatalities for all ages

  • 9th for overall firearm fatalities for children, ages 0-17

  • 7th for firearm homicides for all ages

  • 5th for firearm homicides for children, ages 0-17

  • 17th for firearm suicides for all ages

  • 21st for firearm suicides for children, ages 0-17

 

These rankings are sourced from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention WISQARS Fatal Injury Reports database. WISQARS (Web-based Injury Statistics Query and Reporting System, pronounced “whiskers”) is an interactive database system that provides fatal injury data. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention receives information from each state’s health department, then uploads it into the WISQARS database. The most recent data uploaded to WISQARS is from 2021.

Below are tables reflecting rates of firearm death (all intents), firearm homicides, and firearm suicide deaths by state, ranked by age-adjusted rate for both all ages and for ages 0-17.

The states in red are states whose gun laws received a D or F grade from the Giffords Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence. Those in blue received a A or B. Those in black received a C. For more on gun law grades, click here.  

 

States with an *asterisk are “permitless carry” states, meaning no permit nor firearm safety training i required to carry loaded gun in public places. For more on permitless carry states, click here.

Firearm Fatalities

Firearm fatalities include all forms of fatal gun violence: all violence-related fatal shootings, including homicides, fatal domestic violence shootings, and legal intervention, as well as firearm suicides, unintentional shootings, and shootings where the intent or motive is undetermined.

  • Tennessee is ranked 11th for overall firearm fatalities for all ages. Of the 10 states ranked above Tennessee, seven are permitless carry states and eight were given an F for the strength of their gun laws.
     

  • Tennessee is ranked 9th for overall firearm fatalities for children ages 0-17. Of the eight states ranked above Tennessee, six are permitless carry states and all eight were given an F for the strength of their gun laws.

  • In 2021, an average of 7.2 children in Tennessee were fatally shot every month.

  • Guns are the leading cause of death for Tennessee children.

Firearm Fatalities - All Intents - All Ages Table (1).png

Notation: ** indicates unstable value (<20 deaths); -- indicates suppressed value; (between one to nine deaths; --* indicates secondary suppression. 

Firearm Homicides

Firearm homicides include any murder committed with a firearm, whether the murder is the result of an altercation, a domestic situation, a road rage shooting, or during the commission of a criminal act, such as an armed robbery or retaliatory shooting.

  • Tennessee is ranked 7th for firearm homicides for all ages. Of the six states ranked above Tennessee, two are permitless carry states and four were given an F for the strength of their gun laws. (Note: Giffords did not give the District of Columbia a grade.)
     

  • Tennessee is ranked 5th for firearm homicides for children ages 0-17. Of the four states ranked above Tennessee, two are permitless carry states and all four were given an F for the strength of their gun laws.

  • In 2021, an average of 4.8 children in Tennessee were murdered every month.

  • Guns are the leading cause of death for Tennessee children.

Notation: ** indicates unstable value (<20 deaths); -- indicates suppressed value; (between one to nine deaths; --* indicates secondary suppression. 

Firearm Suicides

Firearm suicides include any completed suicide where a gun was used.  Firearm suicides are unique in both their impulsivity and their lethality. Unlike other methods of suicide, firearm suicides take little planning and are almost always successful.

  • Tennessee is ranked 17th for firearm suicides for all ages. Of the 16 states ranked above Tennessee, 13 are permitless carry states and 13 were given an F for the strength of their gun laws. 
     

  • Tennessee is ranked 21st for firearm suicides for children ages 0-17. Of the 20 states ranked above Tennessee, 12 are permitless carry states and 14 were given an F for the strength of their gun laws.

  • In 2021, 67% of Tennesseans who took their own life did so with a gun. (1,222 total suicides/814 firearm suicides).

  • In 2021, 54% of Tennessee children who took their own life did so with a gun. (39 total suicides/21 firearm suicides). Most children who commit suicide with a firearm use a gun from their home.

Notation: ** indicates unstable value (<20 deaths); -- indicates suppressed value; (between one to nine deaths; --* indicates secondary suppression. 

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