Everytown for Gun Safety, and the Tennessee chapters of Moms Demand Action and Students Demand Action, both part of Everytown’s grassroots networks, today released the following statements after a shooting at the Kroger in Collierville which killed at least one person and wounded at least 12 others. Details are still developing.
“Our hearts are with all those impacted by this devastating shooting,” said Erika Kelley, a volunteer with the Tennessee chapter of Moms Demand Action and a member of the Everytown Survivor Network whose son Dontae was shot and killed in 2016. “No one should have to worry about gun violence while they’re shopping for groceries, playing in a park, or just going about their lives, but because of our weak gun laws, we have to. The club of people like me whose lives are changed forever by gun violence keeps getting bigger, and it’ll keep growing unless our lawmakers step up and do something.”
“Today our hearts break for the victims and survivors of this shooting, and our minds struggle to comprehend the terrible pain they must grapple with,” said John Feinblatt, president of Everytown for Gun Safety. “This tragedy is yet another reminder that even as America struggles to contain the Covid pandemic, our nation’s gun violence epidemic rages on.”
“We don’t have to live this way, and we certainly don’t have to die this way,” said Shannon Watts, founder of Moms Demand Action. “Our hearts break for all those impacted by this tragedy, their families, and the entire Collierville community. Lawmakers must act to put an end to the gun violence epidemic.”
In an average year, 1,193 people die by guns in Tennessee, and 2,220 are wounded. With a rate of 17.5 deaths per 100,000 people, Tennessee has the 12th-highest rate of gun deaths in the US. Despite this, earlier this year, Tennessee lawmakers further weakened the state’s gun laws by passing a permitless carry bill allowing people to carry loaded handguns in public with no background check and no safety training over the objections of law enforcement, faith leaders, medical professionals, and more. In 2019, Kroger announced that it will prohibit open carry of firearms in its stores.