Tennessee leads nation in accidental shooting deaths


WASHINGTON — According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Tennessee leads the country in accidental shooting deaths.

The Volunteer State ranked ninth in 2013 for deadly accidental shootings. Officials say 19 people died that year.

In 2014, the number jumped to 105.

“This idea of shooting first and asking questions later unfortunately sometimes has fatal consequences,” said Beth Joslin Roth with Safe Tennessee Project, a grassroots organization dedicated to addressing the epidemic of gun-related injuries and gun violence in Tennessee.

The numbers have fluctuated some over the years, but Joslin Roth said the jump between 2013 and 2014 is unprecedented.

“It’s shameful. It’s really shameful,” she said.

Last month, police said a 3-year-old Nashville boy ended up in the hospital after accidentally shooting himself in the wrist with a pistol that he pulled out of his father’s backpack.

“We don’t like to use the term accidental shooting because that implies that it was inevitable, that there was no way to prevent it when in fact these types of shootings are 100 percent preventable,” Joslin Roth said.

Also in August, an 11-year-old Hendersonville girl died after investigators said her father mistook her for an intruder and shot her.

Joslin Roth said children are much more at risk.

According to Safe Tennessee Project’s research, of the 38 adults accidentally shot so far this year in Tennessee, 13 percent of them died. But for the 18 children shot, 39 percent of them lost their lives.