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Data: Tennessee led country in fatal accidental shootings

ASSOCIATED PRESS

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Tennessee led the nation in the number of accidental shooting deaths in 2014, according to recent data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

In a news release, The Safe Tennessee Project, a grassroots gun-violence prevention organization, said that 105 people died in the state from accidental gunshots in 2014, media outlet reported.

The year before that, there were 19 such deaths in Tennessee, and the state had ranked ninth in accidental shootings.

“We’ve actually been aware of the new numbers for several months, but the increase was so dramatic that we wanted to confirm the numbers before reporting them,” said Beth Joslin Roth, Policy Director for The Safe Tennessee Project.

According to Roth, the group first asked the CDC and state health officials to check the numbers for accuracy. Those figures were then verified.

“We don’t like to use the term accidental shooting because that implies that it was inevitable, that there was no way to prevent it when in fact these types of shootings are 100 percent preventable,” Roth said.

The group’s research shows that the increase in deaths was reflected across all age ranges. According to the organization, most unintentional shootings involving adults occur when gun owners fail to clear the chamber before cleaning firearms or when loaded guns were dropped. Those involving children most often occur when they gain access to an unsecured, loaded gun that’s not safely stored.

“The dramatic jump in unintentional shootings deaths in our state is a cause for alarm and a call to action,” Jonathan M. Metzl, Research Director of the Safe Tennessee Project, said. “This data truly should be a wake-up call for lawmakers on both sides of the aisle.”

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