Tennessee Leads the Nation in Accidental Gunshot Deaths

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CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. (WDEF) – The state of Tennessee has a dubious honor—it ranks first in the nation in fatal accidental shootings.

Officials cite a dramatic increase in accidental shootings between 2013 and 3014.

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Now a group called Safe Tennessee wants more prevention efforts and research.

The Chattanooga area has recorded several accidental shootings this year, at lease one of them fatal.

In Chattanooga, one person was wounded on Holder Drive earlier this month.

And two people were accidentally shot on Frawley Road in East Ridge in August.

It’s incidents like those that Safe Tennessee is pointing to when they ask for more study and more safety regulations for guns.

But it still falls on individuals, according to the experts.

“Most accidental shootings are not caused because the guns have, or do not have locks. Its because proper protocol is not exhibited. The gun is pointed in a direction. when it goes off it hits somebody,” says John Martin with the Shooter’s Depot.

The Centers for Disease Control confirmed that Tennessee ranks 1st in accidental gun deaths. That’s based on statistics that show 19 fatal shootings in 2013, that jumped to 105 incidents in 2014. There’s no federal database tracking these incidents and accidental shootings are generally under reported.

John Martin says it still a matter of required training.

“There is no in place that mandates that you go through a gun-safety class before you can buy a gun. Personally, I think it..it doesn’t infringe on your 2nd amendment rights..for you to at least be exposed to a safety class, but you’re not,” says Martin.

Safe Tennessee calls attention to the number of guns that fall into the hands of children or suicidal adults.

The organization says they are not accidents, but 100% preventable.

But that depends on a lot of factors.

Jeremy Green is a gun owner. He says, “As much as I’m for guns, I am for gun control, too. Personally I think there should be a gun law to say that if you want to buy a gun you have to go through a class beforehand.”

Safe Tennessee stresses: it supports the second amendment, it does not advocate confiscating guns, and it doesn’t advocate taking guns away from law abiding citizens.