NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – As violence continues to grow across the country, one study ranked Davidson County as one of the worst metros in the nation for deadly shootings. The study from BackgroundChecks.com found that Davidson County has the 16th highest gun-related deaths when it comes to midsize metros.
One group believes Tennessee’s gun laws, including its open carry law, are only contributing to the problem.
“We passed that bill and it was signed in 2021 and that’s after we had already seen a rise in gun violence and deaths in our state,” said Carol Buckley Frazier with Moms Demand Action.
Frazier said the ranking doesn’t surprise her, however, it’s a ranking she’s not okay with.
“It’s very concerning, having people go out, we have a big tourist business here in Tennessee. We have lots of people on the streets and lots of people out. I’m very concerned, I worry about my own family, my own kids. I worry about other people’s kids,” Frazier said.
Along with a growing population often comes rising crime trends.
“When you see places like Nashville and Memphis growing as rapidly as it’s growing, one you have more people so then more than likely more people are going to get in trouble,” Senator London Lamar said. “Two, Nashville’s economy is growing tremendously. And what that means is the cost of housing and the prices of goods are increasing as well, which means those who are typically of lower socioeconomic class, experiencing poverty are in neighborhoods who don’t have much investment, they’re more likely to see an increase in gun crime and violent crime due to a lack of resources.”
Although neither Frazier nor Lamar is against gun ownership, both think proactive approaches need to be taken to cut down on how many are on the streets.
“We have emergency risk protection laws that need to be passed, which would through a judicial process would make sure that people that are in danger of hurting themselves or others would not have access to firearms or to purchase firearms for a period of time,” Frazier said.
Lamar suggested coming up with ways to prevent gun crime in the first place.
“Historically, we’ve always put the burden of responsibility on law enforcement and the criminal justice system to solve the issues of gun crime. What we do know is those systems are to react to gun crime. What can we do beforehand?” Lamar said while explaining her recently proposed gun legislation. “[We need to] invest more into jobs, more into mental health, more into youth intervention, and then although those are long-term investments, what that would then lead to is a decrease in gun crime over time.”
The study found that Nashville wasn’t alone in its struggle with violence as a whole. It found that gun deaths are up by 43% across the country compared to a decade ago.