On March 27th of this year, America’s gun violence crisis infiltrated an elementary school in our city. Just five years ago, the same type of senseless gun violence occurred at a Waffle House in Antioch. In the last three years, there have been 1,158 shootings reported in Nashville. At this moment in our history, gunshot wounds are the leading cause of death of American kids, more than car wrecks and drug overdoses.
Over the past 20 years we have passed laws to make cars and car seats safer, which has significantly reduced the number of children killed in auto accidents. Unfortunately, our elected leaders, many beholden to the gun lobby, have refused to take actions to make gun ownership safer for both the owner and public at large. We must find common-sense gun safety laws that both protect the individual rights of gun owners and prevent assault style weapons (used in both of Nashville’s recent mass shootings) from falling into the wrong hands.
For meaningful reform, we need to focus on the areas where most Tennesseans–and Nashvillians, agree: 1) making background checks mandatory, faster, and more accurate; 2) putting tough limits on who can and can't purchase long guns; and 3) Red Flag laws that provide concerned family members or law enforcement a legal process to help prevent another senseless tragedy.
While Nashville’s mayor can’t single handedly implement gun safety reforms, there are several things that can be done at the local level. As mayor, I will work with Metro Council and MNPD to ensure every officer and first responder are as well trained as those who rushed into the Covenant School during an active shooter situation. I will also work with MNPS, State and Federal officials to secure funding for safety enhancements and training at every Metro Nashville Public School. There is not one simple solution to this problem, but there are many steps we can take to better protect our families from another senseless act of gun violence.