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Local women's rights and gun control groups set to discuss violence against women in Tennessee

Brandon Paykamian • Updated Jan 6, 2019 at 11:42 AM

According to the most recent statistics from the Violence Policy Center, Tennessee ranks fifth in the nation when it comes to women murdered by males in single victim/single offender incidents.

And much of the time, guns are involved in these crimes against women, according to former Johnson City mayor and Women Matter Vice Chairperson Mickii Carter.

“Violence against women is one of our big issues, and it is so often times involving a gun,” she said. “A lot of us (in Women Matter) have children and grandchildren now, and we want to see them all protected.

“America is a country where we’ll always have guns. We just need to be more responsible about it,” she continued. “Women are usually killed by people who know them, and there’s usually a gun involved.”

On Tuesday, Women Matter will welcome local Moms Demand Action organizer and gun control activist Vicki Powers to speak on the issue and how to tackle it. The meeting, which Carter said aims to discuss gun violence against women and the need to promote “responsible gun ownership,” will be held at 5:30 at Cranberries Cafe, located at 1904 Knob Creek Road.

“Every month in the US, an average of 50 women are killed with guns by a domestic partner. The presence of a gun in a domestic violence situation makes it 16 times more likely that the woman will be killed,” Powers said Thursday ahead of the event. “At this meeting, we are bringing our organizations together to protect children from unintentional shootings. We will present our BeSmart program, which educates adults about safe storage practices and teaches parents and grandparents how to ask if guns are present where their children play.”

In the past, conservative legislators like Tennessee Rep. Micah Van Huss, R-Jonesborough, have often pushed back against groups such as Moms Demand Action and others who say they promote “common sense gun laws.”  But on Friday, Van Huss said he is in favor of programs that encourage safe storage of firearms. 

“Safely storing one's firearms is a smart thing to do. A few years ago I sponsored and passed legislation making it illegal for educators to ask if students have firearms in their homes. That's no one's business but the families,” he wrote in an emailed statement to the Press. 

The Tennessee Firearms Association could not be immediately reached for comment. 

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