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As Tennessee Lawmakers Gavel In For 2024 Legislative Session, Gun Safety Advocates Call on Lawmakers to Finally Act to Prevent Gun Violence 


Following the End of Special Session In August Without Any Common Sense Gun Reform Legislation, Volunteers Ready to Advocate for A Safer Tennessee

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – The Tennessee chapters of Moms Demand Action and Students Demand Action, both part of Everytown for Gun Safety’s grassroots networks, released the following statements as the Tennessee State Legislature gavels in for the upcoming legislative session. Tennessee has high rates of gun violence and weak gun laws, lacking important foundational gun safety measures. 

Last March, 3 children and 3 adults were murdered in a mass shooting at the Covenant School in Nashville. Since the shooting, Everytown along with Moms Demand Action and Students Demand Action volunteers, have continuously called on Tennessee leaders to reject efforts to weaken the state’s gun laws and find common ground on policies like an Extreme Risk law, which could have prevented the March shooting. Following relentless advocacy by gun safety advocates, survivors, and students – despite aggressive efforts to tamp down dissent – lawmakers ultimately rejected legislation to arm teachers and passed a proposal that will create a public awareness campaign on the secure storage of firearms and make secure storage devices easier to obtain. 

“Following relentless advocacy, lawmakers ultimately rejected legislation to arm teachers and militarize our schools, showing the power of our voices and refusal to back down even as we were being forcibly removed from hearings, ” said Zack Maaieh, a leader with Students Demand Action chapter and a student at Vanderbilt University. “Despite lawmakers inaction, we showed up and we are ready once again to show out in droves to demand that lawmakers advance gun safety laws that protect our right to live and if they refuse to listen, we’ll come for their seats next November.” 

“Republican politicians spent their time last session trying to arm teachers in schools, but thanks to the courage and persistence of mothers and others, these attempts fell short,” said Sierra Barnett, a volunteer with Moms Demand Action. “While we are encouraged by proposals meant to promote the secure storage of firearms, the session fell woefully short, so we are back this session to hold lawmakers accountable who refuse to take action to save lives.” 

For the upcoming legislation, the Tennessee chapters of Moms Demand Action and Students Demand Action, both part of Everytown for Gun Safety’s grassroots networks are calling for:

  • Improving Tennessee’s secure storage policies to better protect Tennesseean children and adults by preventing unintentional shootings, gun suicides, and thefts. Lawmakers should require gun owners to store firearms securely anytime they are not in the owner’s possession–including in vehicles. In recent years, guns have been stolen from cars at an increasingly alarming rate, and are now the largest source of stolen firearms. Memphis and Chattanooga rank first and second with the highest rates of gun thefts from cars across the entire country.

Tennessee currently has the 12th highest rate of gun deaths in the United States and some of the weakest gun laws in the country. An Extreme Risk law may have prevented the shooting at the Covenant School and saved six lives. Twenty-one states — including Indiana and Florida — have already passed an Extreme Risk law. Guns are the number one killer of children and teens in the U.S. and in Tennessee.