State Rep. John Ray Clemmons and Safe Tennessee Project hosted a ‘Gun Violence Roundtable’ in the Tennessee State Capitol on Tuesday. The event consisted of the presentation of state and national data on gun violence, testimony from experts, advocates and healthcare providers, and a discussion of policy proposals. Rep. Clemmons and Beth Joslin Roth, policy director for the Safe Tennessee Project, were joined by Dr. Katrina Green, Dr. Jonathan Metzl, Kayla Hicks, Jen Pauliukonis, Megan Moore, and Scott Ridgway.
“We are facing nothing short of a public safety and public health crisis with regards to gun violence,” said Rep. Clemmons. “To continue our work addressing this issue as policymakers and advocates, we brought experts together today to review data, gain valuable insight, and conduct a thoughtful and informed conversation. As a legislator, it is my job to find a path through the partisanship and politics of the issue and find common ground for the benefit of Tennessee families. Thanks to Safe Tennessee Project and the individuals who joined me in the Capitol today, we are better equipped with information and proposals to move forward in a substantive manner.”
Beth Joslin Roth gave a detailed presentation about the data regarding gun violence in Tennessee. “More Tennesseans were fatally shot in 2017 than in any previous year on record,” said Roth. “If an illness were killing our friends, family, and neighbors at such an alarming rate, we would not hesitate to label it a crisis. And that’s what gun violence is. It’s a public health crisis.
We need to address it the same way we would any other public health crisis, and that starts with discussions like the one we had today.”
Clemmons concluded the roundtable discussion by thanking the panelists and audience members, urging all to stay active and involved in the conversation.
“I look forward to the next step which will include bringing together grassroots organizations and leaders that are doing the work on the ground in our communities to prevent gun violence,” said Clemmons.