he Massive New Public Health Threat To Kids: What Policies Would You Consider To Address Gun Safety? (Forbes)

FORBES | On Monday March 27th, Nashville was forever changed. Six people, including three nine-year old children, died in a mass shooting at The Covenant School. Since then, I have been asked repeatedly: what can we do to keep this from happening again? At the time, I didn’t have an answer. But since then, I’ve been studying, asking questions, and listening, and I’ve been working to find commonsense policy responses that we might all consider, recognizing that there is no single point solution and that each of us views the highly charged issue of gun safety from a different, frequently contrasting perspective. What we can do now, and as responsible citizens really should do, is at least consider what options might be on the table to bring us together around the absolute goal of the safety and security of our children and families.

I am a gun owner and a hunter. I have always and will continue to strongly support Second Amendment rights. I had a 12-year Senate career where I consistently backed responsible gun ownership. But times are different today – misuse of guns has grown much worse, substantially worse – with markedly more death and tragedy in our neighborhoods, than even a decade ago. This demands a fresh look, free of past biases and partisan tones which have ruled so much of our earlier discussions and debate. These honest revaluations should be carried out in local communities, in homes and at schools, civic gatherings, and places of faith, and likely will include changes in the larger policy framework in response to these new tragic realities.

Yes, over the last decade, deaths from firearms has grown into an official public health crisis. The facts are stark: Now, according to the latest CDC data, firearms are the leading cause of death for children and teens in America. In 2020, gun deaths reached the highest number ever recorded in the United States, killing over 45,000 Americans (a 25% increase from five years earlier and a 43% increase from 10 years prior). And in 2021, we surpassed the 2020 record with nearly 49,000 gun deaths nationwide.

Read more at Forbes: https://www.forbes.com/sites/billfrist/2023/05/03/the-massive-new-public-health-threat-to-kids-what-policies-would-you-consider-to-address-gun-safety/?sh=3a1dd9891567

Gun violence is the No. 1 killer of children; here are common-sense steps to address it (The Tennessean)

THE TENNESSEAN | The perfect storm of easy access to firearms combined with a pandemic-fueled mental health crisis has brought us to a boiling point.

On March 31, 9-year-old Evelyn Dieckhaus was scheduled to sing Louis Armstrong’s classic song “What A Wonderful World” at a play at Nashville’s Covenant School. Instead, country music artist Vince Gill stood in the sanctuary of Woodmont Christian Church and sang it at her funeral, just four days after the mass school shooting that devastated our hometown. 

We are a former U.S. Senate Majority Leader representing the State of Tennessee, a Nashville-based orthopaedic trauma surgeon who has treated far too many gunshot victims, and the pastor who officiated over Evelyn’s funeral. And we are begging – on behalf of those weeping in our nation’s pews and hospitals and on the steps of our corridors of power – for an end to America’s epidemic of firearms-driven death.   

We were heartened by recent news that Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee signed an executive order strengthening background checks and called on the state legislature to do more. But we, as a state and a nation, need to do more.

Read more at The Tennessean: https://www.tennessean.com/story/opinion/contributors/2023/04/17/gun-violence-common-sense-steps-address-top-killer-of-children/70122206007/?fbclid=IwAR0IU26-dw813ma3_XjcSbOYXDYozHpp0HdcOCg-mXFmKK_q7k2jsCH03NM