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Named a “public health crisis,” support for proposed reforms crosses party lines, geography and gun ownership

NASHVILLE, TN The majority of Tennesseans in both political parties said they are worried about gun violence reaching their family and broadly support currently proposed legislation to address it, according to a flash poll of 500 Tennesseans conducted this week.

In addition, a majority of Tennesseans called gun violence a “public health crisis” and named healthcare leaders, physicians and nurses as having the most trusted point of view on the issue, along with teachers and police officers, according to the independent survey commissioned by Jarrard Inc. and conducted via Centiment.

The survey comes as the state’s General Assembly has only 10 days remaining in its 2023 session to consider proposals addressing gun violence. New initiatives were offered by Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee following the March 27 shooting at The Covenant School in Nashville, where six people, including three children, were murdered by an assailant using legally purchased rifles and a handgun.

Topline findings:

  • Gun violence a statewide concern. Two-thirds of Tennesseans said they worry that they “or someone they love” will be a victim of gun violence, including 19% who said they worry about it every day. When asked to rank gun violence on a scale of 1 to 5, with 5 being “a very serious problem,” 56% of ranked gun violence a 4 or 5.
  • A public health crisis. Some 59% agreed that gun violence is a “public health crisis” and 82% said it’s moderately to extremely important that Tennessee’s hospital leaders, physicians and nurses be active voices in the public conversation about the issue.
  • Broad support for proposed reforms. Tennesseans expressed broad support on new gun violence proposals now being considered by the General Assembly, including three proposed by Governor Bill Lee.
    • Safe Storage Laws requiring gun owners to “provide safe storage for their guns and report lost or stolen guns” is somewhat or very likely to be supported by 66% of Tennesseans, including 59% of Republicans, 74% of Democrats, 73% of female gun owners and 55% of male gun owners.
    • Extreme Risk Laws that “would allow authorities to temporarily remove guns from people who pose a risk to themselves or others” is somewhat or very likely to be supported by 65% of Tennesseans, including 60% of Republicans, 74% of Democrats, 71% of female gun owners and 59% of male gun owners.
    • Extensive background checks for all gun buyers, requiring “all commercial sales of guns to include a 72-hour background check” is somewhat or very likely to be supported by 68% of Tennesseans, including 61% of Republicans, 77% of Democrats, 71% of female gun owners and 54% of male gun owners.
  • Gun ownership. Some 48% of survey participants said they own a gun, including 62% of Republicans, 35% of Democrats and 44% of independents. The majority of gun owners were supportive of the proposed gun violence reforms now being considered by the General Assembly.

The survey of 500 Tennessee adults was conducted April 11-13 by Jarrard Inc., a healthcare communications consulting firm founded in Tennessee and part of Chartis, a national healthcare consulting firm.

“The survey reveals the concern about gun violence is shared across Tennessee’s political spectrum as well as broad support for the proposed reforms being considered by the General Assembly,” said Anne Hancock Toomey, president of Jarrard Inc.

“We hope the findings encourage healthcare leaders to join in this conversation, as they are seen by Tennesseans as the most trusted voice in this important public health issue.”

Online data collection for the survey was performed by Centiment using detailed datapoints to collect responses from a representative sample of Tennessee adults aged 18 and over.

The survey margin of error was ± 4%. Key demographics of the survey population include:

  • 51% female / 48% male / 1% other or non-binary
  • 42% Republican / 32% Democrat / 27% Other or unaffiliated
  • 73% White / 17% Black or African-American, 4% Hispanic or Latino / 3% Asian or Pacific-American / 3% other
  • 23% urban / 44% suburban / 33% rural

About Jarrard Inc.

Jarrard Inc. is a specialized healthcare consulting firm that, since its founding in 2006, has worked with more than 1,000 clients across 45+ states as a strategic communications advisor. Jarrard Inc. is a division of Chartis, one of the nation’s leading healthcare advisory firms.