NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — The Metro Nashville Police Department saw an overwhelming number of guns taken from cars in 2022. So far, 2023 is off to a very similar start.

After losing her son to gun violence, Clemmie Greenlee said she’s disturbed to learn about the number of guns being stolen out of Nashville cars.

She added that she’s heard gunfire on a regular basis around her North Nashville home. 

“It’s terrifying to me because I don’t know now if I’m going to make it out of Kroger. Am I going to make it when I be pumping gas?” Greenlee told News 2.

As of Wednesday, Jan. 10, Metro Police reported 38 guns had already been stolen from cars this year. That’s in addition to the record-breaking 1,378 stolen from cars last year

“That means they didn’t get the message, they don’t care about the message, or they don’t care about our lives,” Greenlee said when discussing the gun theft numbers. 

Greater Heights Missionary Baptist Church Pastor Curtis Bryant spoke with Greenlee and News 2’s Nikki McGee on Sunday, Jan. 15 in North Nashville. He said guns left behind in cars have made access too easy. 

“People who may not have been able to buy a gun are easily able to access a gun because someone left it in an automobile,” Bryant explained. “And if you do the statistics on how many cars were unlocked — cars unlocked, that’s callous behavior.”

Greenlee is calling on local and state leaders to get involved and consider instituting criminal penalties for people who leave guns unsecured and unattended in their vehicles.

“You’re going to have to start penalizing these people that are leaving these guns in these cars,” Greenlee said. “It’s too many, it’s too senseless, it’s too careless, and it’s too terrifying for us to worry about who’s going to get killed next because of a stolen gun.” 

In addition to guns, Metro Police said 53 cars were stolen during the first week of January, more than half of which were taken with the keys.  

Bryant invited the public to attend a community meeting at noon on Thursday, Jan. 19 to talk about gun violence, as well as organize a Juneteenth event aimed at reducing community shootings.