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Vegas Shooting Highlights Gun Law Vulnerabilities in TN

Tennessee doesn't require background checks for private sale of firearms and receives a failing grade from the Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence. (Peretz Partensky/flickr)
Tennessee doesn't require background checks for private sale of firearms and receives a failing grade from the Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence. (Peretz Partensky/flickr)
October 5, 2017

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – While the nation mourns the lives lost and injuries suffered from the deadliest shooting rampage in modern U.S. history, questions are emerging about how to prevent future incidents.

A national report card from the Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence indicates Tennessee isn't doing enough to prevent gun violence, giving the state an F grade for its current laws.

Laura Cutilletta, the Law Center’s legal director, says the Volunteer State has a big loophole.

"There are no background checks required if you buy a gun from someone who is not a licensed dealer,” she points out. “So you could be a felon, you could be a domestic abuser, you could be a dangerously, mentally ill person, and there's no way the person selling the gun to you would know that because they're not required to conduct a background check."

Other states such as California have opted to pass additional laws to require licensed dealers to record the sale of guns, even between private sellers, and conduct background checks.

Tennessee did recently pass a law to restrict gun ownership for those who have been convicted of domestic abuse.

Cutilletta notes that gun advocates say it's too early to talk about gun reform after the Las Vegas shooting, but argues the time to act was yesterday.

"It's offensive to the people that are losing their lives to gun violence every day to say that we're not going to talk about it,” she states. “We're not going to talk about using solutions that have been proven to be effective, and we're not going to talk about it because it doesn't fit with what the gun lobby wants us to talk about."

Cutilletta points out that 33 people die every day because of guns violence. She says the states with the lowest gun death rates also have the strongest gun laws.

The Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence recommends that states impose waiting periods on firearm purchases, require the reporting of lost or stolen firearms and regulate the sale of ammunition.



Stephanie Carson, Public News Service - TN