INSTITUTE INDEX: Southern states weaken gun laws following Nashville school massacre

Headshots of six victims of Nashville school shooting

The six people killed in March 27 mass shooting at The Covenant School in Nashville, Tennessee, were, clockwise from top left, Katherine Koonce, Mike Hill, Cynthia Peak, William Kinney, Hallie Scruggs, and Evelyn Dieckhaus. Since the massacre, Tennessee and other Southern states have taken actions to loosen gun laws. (Photos from The Covenant School/Covenant Presbyterian Church/Facebook/KMOV/Dieckhaus Family.)

Number of people who died in a March 27 shooting at The Covenant School, a private Christian elementary school in the Tennessee capital of Nashville, including three 9-year-olds: 6

Number of rounds of ammunition the shooter — carrying an AR-15 military-style rifle, a 9 mm Kel-Tec SUB2000 pistol caliber carbine, and a 9 mm Smith & Wesson M&P Shield EZ 2.0 handgun — fired before being fatally shot by police: 152

On average, number of people who are shot to death every year in Tennessee: 1,385

Rank of Tennessee among states with the highest rates of gun violence: 10th

Rank of Tennessee among states with the strongest gun laws, according to Everytown for Gun Safety: 29th

Of the 21 states with gun laws weaker than Tennessee's, number that are in the South: 6*

A week after the Nashville shooting, number of area students who walked out of class and marched on the state Capitol to demand stronger gun laws: over 1,000

Rather than heeding that call, date on which Tennessee's Republican-controlled House instead expelled two Black Democratic members for violating chamber rules by vocally joining the nonviolent protest while standing at the House well — but not the white Democratic member who joined them: 4/6/2023

Factor by which Black adults in the U.S. are more likely to have a family member killed by gun violence than white adults: 2

Number of days after the Nashville shooting that the Tennessee Senate scheduled a Finance, Ways, and Means Committee calendar a hearing for a bill also moving in the House that would extend the state's permitless carry law to all 18- and 19-year-olds and to all firearms, including especially deadly semiautomatic rifles: 1

Number of days after the shooting that Tennessee Senate Judiciary Chair Todd Gardenhire said the body would not take up any more gun-related bills this session — including a bill requiring gun owners to secure weapons and ammunition in cars and boats — while adding that his committee "is not gonna be turned into a circus": 2

Number of days after the shooting that North Carolina's Republican-controlled legislature — with the help of three Democrats who did not show up to vote — overrode Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper's veto of a law repealing the state's pistol permit requirement: 2

Number of days after the shooting that Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, who's indicated he's running for the 2024 Republican presidential nomination, traveled to Georgia for a rally at one of the country's biggest gun stores, during which he decried, among other things, Black Lives Matter activists and transgender people: 3

Number of days after the shooting that DeSantis signed into law a bill allowing adults to carry concealed firearms without training or a state permit, making Florida the 26th state to do so: 7

Number of days after the shooting that the Arkansas legislature also passed a bill ending the requirement for a permit to carry a concealed handgun, sending it to Gov. Sarah Huckabee Sanders (R), who has said she will sign it: 10

Number of mass shootings there have been in the U.S. already this year, which just surpassed its 100th day this week: 155

Of the last 25 mass shootings, number that took place in Southern states, including Florida, North Carolina, and Tennessee: 12

Percent of Americans who are dissatisfied with current U.S. gun laws — the highest level in 23 years and an increase of 7 percentage points over the previous year, according to a recent Gallup poll: 63

Date on which the National Rifle Association gathers in Indianapolis for its annual meeting, which is expected to draw numerous Republican politicians: 4/14/2023

Amount the NRA and other gun lobby groups have spent on state politics over the past decade, counting both direct contributions to candidates and independent spending on races, with most of that benefiting Republicans: $28.4 million

* Texas (32nd), Alabama (34th), Kentucky (40th), Georgia (47th), Arkansas (49th), Mississippi (50th). 

(Click on figure to go to source.)