1 in 13 in TN Licensed to Carry; Firearm Assaults Down

Residents of the Volunteer State are stepping up and packing heat, according to statistics released by the Tennessee Department of Safety and Homeland Security. In January 2008, 191,208 Tennesseans had carry permits. As of February 2015, that number has mushroomed to 488,911. With 6.5 million people now living in Tennessee, that means roughly one out of every thirteen Vols are licensed to carry . . .

Dave Boucher, writing for The Tennessean, concurrently reports that the number of “crimes against persons” involving a firearm in Tennessee dropped from 10,426 in 2008 to 9,117 in 2013 (the most recent year for which figures were reported.) During the same time period, the number of accidental deaths from firearms in the state increased from 985 to 1030  (according to the CDC, see table 19).

Since no article about guns in a legacy media outlet would be complete without a money quote from a gun grabber, Boucher reached for Beth Joslin Roth of something called the Safe Tennessee Project. In this case, deprived by the facts of of a “more gun, more crime” talking point or rivers of blood running through the streets, all she can manage is to mumble something about accidents that happen when someone “drops a gun or forgets that a gun is loaded.”

So, to recap: number of carry permits up 155%; assaults with a firearm down by 13%, accidental deaths up 5%.

That said, has anyone actually heard of the Safe Tennessee Project? Is it somehow possible that this is just another Bloomberg astroturf group? Because the only place I see a web presence for them is on a Facebook (204 likes) and mentions in three articles…from The Tennessean. What are the odds?


  1. avatar Art out West says:

    People in Tenn. commonly carrying single action revolvers like that shown? Looks like a .22 to boot. Not my first choice, but it would work.

    1. avatar Bill Morgan says:

      Huh? The video I watched featured a double action revolver in what appeared to be 36 caliber (.38, .357 or 9mm) and nothing like a toy. Did we see the same firearm?

    2. avatar Ron says:

      I think most of us TN residents carry a bigger than a .22, I carry either my Glock 26 or 42. Both in 9mm. My HighPoint .45acp is too bulky for concealed carry, but serves real well as a bed side gun. If you miss with that, the sound of it going off indoors is enough to give the bad guy a heart attack.

      1. avatar Alan says:

        “My HighPoint .45acp is too bulky for concealed carry…”

        You could have stopped at “HighPoint” 😉

  2. avatar Former Water Walker says:

    Ummm yeah…not news to us paying attention.

  3. avatar BLAMMO says:

    Welcome to Tennessee. The Patron State of Shootin’ Stuff.

    1. avatar Windingo54 says:

      Niiiice on the Shooter referance there!

    2. avatar Liberty2Alpha says:

      We were the “Patron State of Shootin Stuff” before Shooter, just FYI.

    3. avatar jdb says:

      It’s much, much bigger and older than “Shooter”. A disproportional number of firearm companies and reloading suppliers are based in TN.
      Once you add to the math the percentage of the population that’s not eligible to get a permit (kids, felons) the number goes up to closer to 1 in 10 (that’s what it is in my county).

      1. avatar Chris says:

        I live in Chattanooga, and did this math in 2013. I agree, when you take out the population that is underage factor in comes in closer to 1 in 10. I used a few other parameters also to get to 1 in 10 but I think that is a pretty solid number. Remember now this is only PERMITTED folks. Trust me the minority is permitted as I lived in TN for 5 years before I decided to get a carry permit. I really believe the number is closer to 1 in 8 that carry either full time or sporadically.

    4. avatar scott says:

      Your state sounds wonderful!!!. Anyone and everyone I ever met who has been to Tenn has nothing but good things to say about it. From the people, weather and the land. I live in Catskill mnt area of NY ( I know, I know, everything you have heard about NY is true

      1. avatar Nick says:

        There’s no taxes on wages either.

      2. avatar scott says:

        My wife and I are heading down to your beautiful state in June for a visit. Anyone mind if we stay there awhile , probably the rest of our lives??. After 49 years in NY just can’t take it any longer. They charge you more & more for less & less. Like the saying goes here,” if you ain’t nyc you ain’t s***”. I’m not NYC and tired of being s***!!!!!

  4. avatar gunnut says:

    “the number of accidental deaths from firearms in the state increased from 985 to 1030”

    +1000 people died in Tennessea in 2013? And these are only the accidental deaths from firearms? Must be a mistake.

    1. avatar Vitsaus says:

      Firearms and alcohol do not mix…. mostly.

    2. avatar uncommon_sense says:

      That cannot possibly be right. There were on the order of 600 accidental deaths from firearms in the entire United States in 2013. How could Tennessee have more accidental deaths from firearms than the entire nation?

    3. avatar TTACer says:

      I checked table 19. It is all encompasing “injury by firearms” presumebly including suicides and homicides. I expect the accidental death rate is near 0.

      1. avatar BlueBronco says:

        That’s the typical Bloomer sponsored group schtick. Combine suicides, homicides etc. and spin it up.

        1. avatar James69 says:

          Don’t forget police shootings and self-defense. They tend to throw all of them in the same bucket. There was a report on here where they did that.

  5. avatar A-Rod says:

    The Memphis Commercial Appeal was dickish enough to publish all our names and addresses. Dickish!

    1. avatar Mitch says:

      Yeah, I looked up quite a few people when that list was still available. I found my boss and told him about it :p. I’m glad TN made it illegal to do list the names a couple years ago, though.

  6. avatar uncommon_sense says:

    Wow. And if you subtract people who are ineligible to carry (e.g. due to age) from the total population, the numbers are even better.

    Let’s estimate the percentage of people who are ineligible to carry (too young, too old, etc.) at 25% of the population of 6.5 million. Thus 25% of 6.5 million is 1.625 million people leaving 4.875 million people who are eligible to have a concealed carry license. Since about 488,000 people in Tennessee have a concealed carry license, that means about 1 in 10 eligible adults has a concealed carry license in Tennessee!

    On the down side I doubt even 50% of those people are actually armed in public at any given time. That means only about 1 in 20 adults in public are armed. I would like to see a much higher number to really reduce violent crime. As it stands, if you are a violent criminal, you can attack 20 people and the odds are that only one of them will be armed. And since a lot of people are satisfied to do nothing more than produce a firearm and point it at an attacker without firing, an attacker still stands a very good chance of coming out of their attack unscathed.

    1. avatar Mark Whitley says:

      Actually I think your ‘carrying’ number is a bit off, quite a bit.
      Everyone I know that has gotten a concealed carry permit in TN always carries, no exceptions. If they’ve got to go into the court house they lock their guns in their cars/trucks.
      Even when they’re just working out in their yard they carry. and that’s not even counting all of the little old ladies that are packing heat in their purses without a concealed carry permit.
      I wouldn’t believe any survey about people carrying in TN because unless they know you, you won’t see their gun until there’s trouble and it becomes necessary to pull it out.

      1. avatar I_Like_Pie says:

        What is not mentioned anywhere so far is that a TN vehicle is a legal place to carry a loaded pistol even if you DON’T have your CHL.

        Can’t track the number of people who don’t have a CHL and have a pistol in their car, but that number is very high and would bring the ratio down a LOT more.

    2. avatar Mitch says:

      Agreed. I would put that number as low as 15% who actually carry every day. And how many of that low number actually take training classes and practice?

  7. avatar Gunr says:

    So, how old do you have to be to be ineligible for a gun permit?

    1. avatar BlueBronco says:


  8. avatar Another Robert says:

    Maybe The Safe Tennessee Project is The Tennessean’s in-house gun-grabbers organization…

  9. avatar Another Robert says:

    I see constitutional carry language being bandied about–any chance of that happening, you Tennessee guys? The more places it happens, the better for everyone .

    1. avatar Darkstar says:

      Doubt it. Our supposedly gun friendly governor announced today that he is against 11 gun related bills that are up for debate here in the state. One of the bills is for open carry and another is for handgun carry without a permit so…….


      1. avatar William B. says:

        But, remember, Hizzoner the Guvnah went on record as promising when up for re-election that he’d sign constitutional carry if it passed both houses…so he was for it before he was against it. Did I mention he’s been known to lie?

        1. avatar uncommon_sense says:

          You mean politicians lie? Say it isn’t so!!!

        2. avatar TTACer says:

          That’s unpossible!

        3. avatar BlueBronco says:

          Maybe it is time for another horn blowing event and brick chucking like was done to get Sunquist’s attention.

        4. avatar sagebrushracer says:

          they lie? INCONCEIVABLE!

      2. avatar Mitch says:

        It failed last year. We’ll see if it fails again. The TFA puts up a good fight, though.

    2. avatar jdb says:

      Umm, yeah, it actually has a decent chance. It almost happened last year – got killed after getting voted “yes” several times in different places only to die in a budget sub committee because it was going to cost $100k to change some paperwork. :/ It passed, I think, our State Senators. I think our governator pulled some strings to kill it the underhand way.
      But I didn’t even hear about it until AFTER it had passed it’s votes. Came out of no-where, no fuss from the people or anything.

      1. avatar Mitch says:

        It was actually all over the place for weeks. Follow the Tennessee Firearms Association to stay abreast.

  10. avatar rhino says:

    The news here in TN ran a story making it look like it’s headed in the opposite direction. Funny how they did not mention the huge growth in the last few years.


  11. avatar navillus says:

    If you look at the linked document, 1030 deaths in TN is NOT the total due to accidental gun discharges! Table 19 has a column listed “Injury by firearms6”. Footnote 6 says – “6. ICD-10 codes for Injury by firearms are *U01.4,W32-W34,X72-X74,X93-X95,Y22-Y24, and Y35.0; see Technical Notes.”

    Below are the ICD-10 codes in question-
    W32 Accidental handgun discharge and malfunction
    W33 Accidental rifle, shotgun and larger firearm discharge and malfunction
    W34 Accidental discharge and malfunction from other and unspecified firearms and guns

    X72 Intentional self-harm by handgun discharge
    X73 Intentional self-harm by rifle, shotgun and larger firearm discharge
    X74 Intentional self-harm by other and unspecified firearm and gun discharge

    X93 Assault by handgun discharge
    X94 Assault by rifle, shotgun and larger firearm discharge
    X95 Assault by other and unspecified firearm and gun discharge
    (note- ICD ‘assault’ includes homicide)

    Y22 Handgun discharge, undetermined intent
    Y23 Rifle, shotgun and larger firearm discharge, undetermined intent
    Y24 Other and unspecified firearm discharge, undetermined intent

    Y35 Legal intervention

    In short, Table 19 lists ALL causes of firearm death, including suicide, murder, & undetermined deaths, plus lawful police shootings, not merely accidental discharges.

    1. avatar Delmarva Chip says:

      Thanks for posting this.

      TTAG author, please correct the article.

    2. avatar Johannes Paulsen says:

      Thank you for pointing out. Apologies – will fix.

      1. avatar Davis Thompson says:

        You also need to use rates per 100,000 population and not raw numbers. If you do so you will find the death rate by firearm injury went DOWN.

    3. avatar barnbwt says:

      Figured as much. Weaseley bastards are always throwing crime and suicide into the numbers for “accident” stats. Both those are by definition intentional, so how the hell can you claim to include them in an accidents statistic?

  12. avatar greenmeanie says:

    I’m SOOOO glad that I’m moving there in June!

    1. avatar A-Rod says:

      Where about? I might can tell you about good fun stuff in that area.

      1. avatar greenmeanie says:

        Wife and I just built a house up the valley a piece from Chattanooga. Plus I’ve got a good friend in Nashville. Gun guy too.

        1. avatar TNTom says:

          @greenmeanie You’ll like it it here. Close to the city. Close to the country. Came here for a temporary contract in 1999 and never left. 🙂

  13. avatar Davis Thompson says:

    First of all, the number of “deaths” are all firearms deaths for the state. Not just accidents. Says so right on the table.

    Second of all, when you stop quoting useless raw numbers and actually quote rates per 100,000 population, you see the rate of “injury by firearm” deaths went down. From 16 per 100,000 to 15.7 per 100,000.

    Sloppy work. Because the news is even better than the article states.

  14. avatar SuperiorPosture says:

    According to the US Census Bureau, the population of Tennessee between 2008 and 2014 has gone up by… drum roll… 5%*! So the increase in ALL firearm related deaths correlates nearly perfectly with the increase in population. All that tells me is that more guns in the mix doesn’t actually make people more likely to want to kill themselves or others. Whodathunkit?

    *The actual difference is about 4.8%, but then with rounding, the number of firearms-related deaths is actually only up 4.6%. So technically, the population outpaced the number of firearm-related deaths, but not by a statistically significant margin.

    1. avatar SuperiorPosture says:

      I should also point out that suicide is up and homicide is down in Tennessee according to the charts. The numbers for California and New York also show that total fire-arm related deaths are down, as are homicides in general. But suicide is up in those states as well. And in all cases, the rates are either up or down to match the increase or decrease in absolute values appropriately.

      The country as a whole is safer (from a strictly homicide point of view) now than it was in 2008. But more people don’t want to live in it.

  15. avatar slow says:

    Hillbillies with guns in Tennessee, I am shocked, I say shocked. – Native

  16. avatar Liberty2Alpha says:

    To answer your question: as a Tennessee HCP holder, I’ve never heard of the Safe Tennessee Project.

  17. avatar Taylor in Tn says:

    I’m live in Tn, and I’ve never heard of safe Tennessee. Fun fact, this week is “gun week” for the Tn legislator. Over 50 pro gun bills will be considered/voted on. Woop

  18. avatar Brer says:

    I moved to TN back in the 80’s. I had a chance to talk to a city policeman and asked him the proper way to transport a handgun in my vehicle (sans permit). He explained the proper handling, and then added at the end, that if they hauled in everyone they stopped for a traffic infraction that had a (loaded) handgun fall out of the glove compartment they would have half the city in jail.

  19. avatar RenegadeDave says:

    Tennessee has a training requirement for a carry permit as well. Imagine if they didn’t.

    1. avatar Chrispy says:

      If they didn’t have a training requirement… the number might be 1 in 8

  20. avatar Daryl says:

    We have a Handgun Carry Permit, not a Concealed Carry Permit. It can be carried concealed or openly, your choice.

  21. avatar Rick Jefferson says:

    This article is a joke considering the fact that more than ninety nine percent of all theft and assaults are committed by armed government agents and bureaucrats, not private criminals. Most people are clueless because they have been completely brainwashed by government propaganda that begins in the first grade.

  22. avatar Rick Jefferson says:

    This article is a joke considering the fact that more than ninety nine percent of all theft and assaults are committed by armed government agents and bureaucrats acting in the name of unjust laws and wars. not private criminals. Most people are clueless because they have been completely brainwashed by government propaganda that begins in the first grade.

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