Nashville Panel Ponders Gun Violence


NASHVILLE, Tennessee – A panel of five people, with views mostly skewed to the left, discussed gun violence and how to address it in Tennessee.

Although one member of the panel, State Sen. Kerry Roberts, R – Springfield, came at the topic from the right.

The event, held at The Temple in Nashville, also included Vanderbilt professor Jonathan Metzl, Safe Tennessee Project Executive Director Beth Joslin Roth, Nashville Deputy Chief of Police Brian Johnson, and Gideon’s Army founder Rasheedat Fetuga.

Roberts acknowledged there were few other Republicans in the room. He also said his total campaign donations from the NRA and Tennessee Firearms Association amounted to only $1,750.

“As a legislator, the struggle that I have is this. People come before us with facts and figures (about gun violence). Then the next group comes before us with facts and figures. Both groups are, in many cases, taking the same data and drawing entirely different conclusions,” Roberts said.

“And here we are trying to sort out what are we going to do in this situation? An even larger question that haunts each one of us is ‘Are we making a decision that actually solves the problem?’”

Moderator Blake Farmer of Nashville Public Radio, asked Metzl if society had too many — or too few— firearms restrictions.

Metzl’s response: “If laws are having bad outcomes then we need better laws. We don’t outlaw houses when people die in house fires, we build smoke alarms.”

Roth, meanwhile, said arguments prompt many shootings. People, she went on to say, steal many guns from other people’s vehicles.

Fetuga segued to the topic of race.

“There are two different conversations that happen. There is a conversation about mass shootings, which are defined as four or more people who have been injured in a shooting or killed. Then there is the conversation about violence in the black community. We talk about restriction of guns, but we don’t talk about the history of that conversation,” Fetuga said.

“And the original conversations about the restrictions of gun laws was around freed men or people who were indentured servants in this country and freed white men. When black people began to become free from slavery then constitutions, including the Tennessee Constitution, changed to say freed white men. And so there is a lack of solidarity in these conversations.”

Roberts made this point:

“Law abiding citizens feel they are unfairly targeted. Criminals don’t obey laws,” Roberts said.

“Are we doing something a criminal is going to take note of? Prison numbers are high. If a legislature passes a law exactly how much difference will it make?”

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Chris Butler is an investigative journalist at The Tennessee Star. Follow Chris on Facebook. Email tips to [email protected]







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4 Thoughts to “Nashville Panel Ponders Gun Violence”

  1. Ron Welch

    Fists and feet are weapons used in violence. According to government stats, they are used to kill more than so-called “assault weapons”. Then there are knives. But I never hear about “fist violence”, “feet violence”, “knife violence” or maybe “blunt force trauma violence”. The object used in crime is neutral. It is criminal violence and the criminal perps that are the problem. And according to government stats, guns are used many times more by people to thwart or defend themselves against criminal violence. An armed citizenry is a deterrent to criminals. Criminals prefer unarmed victims and any solution that disarms their victims aids and abets them.

  2. juspassinthru

    You can have all the facts & figures from every side of the argument but no where does the “facts & figures” address the real issue. Certain socio-economic groups have a culture of violence for conflict resolution. In other words obtain a knife or a gun to settle the argument.
    The gun or knife is not the root problem. They are simply the instruments of choice by some individuals to settle a disagreement. Change the culture and you reduce the violence.

  3. Everywhere Democrats set Centers of Cultures of Crime and Intolerance, they cry it is the guns our guns, and disarm the people. They are th cause of crimes and murders, their polices that is and they seek to disarm us so we are assured victims as in their Gun Free/Slash assured Victim Zones. If you look at the situation logically and rationally you would disarm the Democrats only as that who is committing the crimes but PC says you can’t do that! Now the new mantra is you shoot a Criminal trying to take your life or property you will be labeled the criminal for depriving the real criminal of a trial a trial where the Citizen defending his life is defending himself from prison. It is just a question of time before this makes its way to Nashville. Just like NYC’s infamous Sullivan Gang Law the democrats want to protect their Criminals from the Citizenry. Nashville is well on it’s way to being another Memphis because of the Democrats, just like the Democrats in Memphis and Chicago and NY and LA etc. We reject their distopian society! Already Tourists are going elsewhere due to the drunken prostitutes Beer parties al over Broadway and cars broken in by democrat protected criminals and old Hwy 42 is now a little Mogidishu.
    The democrats are welcoming, bringing in Illegals, and protecting them and all their criminal Supporters…and they want to take our guns away so they can rule the streets and destroy Nashville???? If anything Citizens have the support off all Americans to terminate all the criminals in commission of crimes. not make Citizens, into Assured Victims!

  4. 83ragtop50

    Just part and parcel to pushing to be the “It City”. Nashville has thrown away conservative principles and now it is reaping what has been sown for many years.