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Ten Years of Tennessee Gun Deaths

Gun deaths are on the rise in Tennessee, and continue to outpace the U.S. average in three key categories:

 

  • Firearm suicides, which include any completed suicide committed with a firearm.

Below are a series of charts that visualize the data in these three categories.

The data is from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Injury Prevention and Control Web-based Injury Statistics Query and Reporting System (WISQARS) Fatal Injury Reports from 2011 to 2021, the most recent year fatal injury data is available.

 Each category is divided between all ages and ages 0-17.

  • 11th for firearm fatalities, all ages

  • 7th for firearm homicides, all ages

  • 17th for firearm suicides, all ages

  • 9th for firearm fatalities, ages 0-17

  • 5th for firearm homicides, ages 0-17

  • 21st for firearm suicides, ages 0-17

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.

 

  • Based on this data, on average, 4.3 Tennesseans die every day from gun violence, or one person every 5.6 hours.

  • Between 2011 and 2021, the rate of firearm fatalities in Tennessee increased 58 percent for all ages and 180 percent for ages 0-17.

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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.

 

  • The number of Tennesseans who were fatally shot in a homicide more than doubled from 2011 to 2021 for both adults and children.

  • Between 2011 and 2021, the rate of firearm homicide in Tennessee increased 120 percent for all ages and 155 percent for ages 0-17.

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

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. 

 

  • In 2021, a record number of Tennesseans used a gun to commit suicide.

  •  On average, 2.2 Tennesseans take their own life with a gun every single day.

  • Over half of all gun deaths in Tennessee are suicides.

  • Between 2011 and 2021, firearm suicides in Tennessee increased 29 percent.

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

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