Tennessee Gun Report

I’m so far behind on this it ain’t even funny. The problem with tracking gun accidents and gun fail in general is that there’s so much, after a while one gets overwhelmed. So I sorta stopped looking, to be honest. I took August off. So, here are some of the most notable incidents over the past month, but it’s by no means a comprehensive list. According to the Safe Tennessee Project, the number of accidental shootings in TN this year has already surpassed all of 2015.

By the way, this article is in the current issue of Vanity Fair (the one with bikini-clad Margot Robbie on the cover.) I say it’s a definite must-read. It’s a fascinating look at the NRA, now more vulnerable than ever. One thing I hadn’t considered was the impact of 3-D printers on the gun manufacturers; since that is who the NRA really represents, the time is fast coming when they will have to draw a line in the sand on their “guns here, guns there, guns everywhere” stance.

Without further ado, your roundup of Tennessee gunfail.

• September 4, 2016:

1- Stray bullets rain down on a toddler’s birthday party at Melton Hill Lake in Oak Ridge:

Whitney Smith was hosting the party for her son Ty’s fifth birthday when the celebration was interrupted by a shower of bullets.

Several unidentified people were shooting guns in a field on one side of Melton Hill Lake as stray bullets came across the lake to an area where the party was being held.

No one was hurt during the incident and no one has been charged.

No one charged; duck and cover, kids! You’re in Tennessee!

2- Lower Broadway is Nashville’s tourist district. It’s sorta like Bourbon Street or Beale Street every weekend down there. Bars, honky tonks, and the Bridgestone Arena are all in the vicinity. So it can’t be good for business to learn it’s also a place where someone can get shot by a stray bullet:

Kyle Freeman, 23, of Smyrna says he did not realize he was shot at first.

Freeman was walking with friends near the intersection of 2nd avenue and Broadway when he says he felt pain on the upper left side of his back.

Freeman says he continued walking a block before he realized he was shot and notified police.

He was taken to Vanderbilt University Medical Center and was treated for non-life threatening injuries.

Despite the large crowd downtown, no one saw anyone with a gun.

Good grief. The only time I go downtown anymore is to go to a hockey game. Guess I’d better wear Kevlar. And by the way, this is not the first time this has happened: see the July 5, 2016 entry from this edition of the Tennessee Gun Report.

• September 1, 2016:

A responsible gun owner responsibly tried to bring their loaded gun through security at the Memphis airport.

• August 31, 2016:

A Nashville toddler accidentally shot himself with dad’s gun. Dad is a licensed security guard with a handgun permit. Safest, most responsible, etc.

• August 29, 2016:

Someone accidentally shot himself in the leg in Greeneville. Or as we call it, Monday:

The victim and his wife both told deputies that Wolfe was in a downstairs bathroom pulling up his pants when a .22 caliber derringer pistol that he kept in a small nylon cellphone case clipped to his waistband discharged.

The case fell from the waistband while still in the case and discharged when it hit the floor, and a bullet hit Wolfe in the leg, the report said.

That gun sure kept him safe, though.

• August 23, 2016:

Four Tennessee firearms executives have been sentenced for illegal gun running.

• August 22, 2016:

Drugs and a BB gun were found in a Gibson County high school student’s car.

• August 18, 2016:

In Franklin, an 11-year-old found a loaded gun in the family’s Hertz Rent-A-Car.

FRANKLIN, Tenn. – A man’s child found a loaded gun in the backseat of their rental car, while his two other children were also in the back seat.

In Franklin, a man’s 11-year-old found a loaded gun in the backseat of their Hertz Rent-a-Car:

It happened after Mike Burk’s 11-year-old son Carter found the gun, and Carter said he’s just glad he found it and not his little brother.

“It was out, it was a gun, and it was facing Mason,” said Carter Burk.

Burk dialed 911 and drove to the Franklin police station and waited for officers to come out and expect the weapon.

Officers confiscated the weapon, but said it was not stolen, and no laws appeared to have been broken. Yet, Mike Burk said he will be doing his own thorough inspections from now on.

Ohhh no laws were broken, so we’re all good! Shouldn’t there be a law against leaving your gun lying around like that? By the way, was there ever an update on this story? Not that I saw. Maybe I missed something. I’d sure like to know who left that gun behind and if they were charged with negligence.

Oh, and this is not the first time this has happened, either. See here and here, for starters. Nothing to see … move along.

• August 17, 2016:

1- An employee of the gift shop at the Memphis airport brought their [loaded] gun to work, and the TSA employee who let her through security got fired for it:

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC) – A TSA officer at Memphis International Airport resigned after a gift shop employee was accused of bringing a loaded gun inside the airport.

TSA security lines were shut down and passengers were stopped from leaving the airport on Monday afternoon during the incident.

According to the police report, a TSA agent noticed a strange object inside Paradies employee Shwundra Boxiley’s bag. An agent, who did not check the bag, gave it back to Boxiley, who then left the checkpoint area.


2- Two teens at Giles County High School were arrested on weapons charges. This is the part I love:

According to a press release, Orlando Ray Jr. was seen in the car rider line waiving a weapon out the window.

Stupid kids.

• August 13, 2016:

A Rockwood police officer accidentally fired a live round during a drill at a middle school.

• August 9, 2016:

A Hendersonville dad accidentally shot and killed his 11-year-old daughter on the first day of school, then lied to police about it:

He told police that he shot his daughter after being awakened by a sound in the house. He said he got the gun from his dresser and shot it.


Originally, police were told that Timea was shot between the bus stop near their home and their house. Police were told the young girl went into the house and told her dad that she had been shot.

After obtaining a search warrant to enter the home, police discovered that Timea had actually been shot inside the home.

Multiple charges have been filed because dad is a felon who shouldn’t have had a gun and he lied about what happened. Which makes me feel so much safer, considering shit like this happens all the time to non-felons, who aren’t charged at all.

• August 8, 2016:

A Rutherford County sheriff’s deputy had his rifle stolen from his patrol car.

• August 1, 2016:

In Murfreesboro, a kid found his uncle’s gun on the bedroom dresser and accidentally fired it into the apartment downstairs.

• July 14, 2016:

Guns in cars, in Murfreesboro:

Officers were told that the driver of a Nissan Titan pulled in front of another driver traveling southeast near the corner of Northwest Broad Street and Van Cleve Avenue about 5:45 p.m., according to the incident report.

The driver of the other vehicle was forced to stop abruptly when the truck pulled in front of him. When he pulled into the left lane of traffic alongside the truck’s driver, the suspect pointed a semiautomatic compact gun at him and shouted expletives, the report stated.

The suspect, whom the driver described as a white male in his 20s with facial hair and a red cast on his thumb, was last seen on North Thompson Lane, the report stated.

Angry white 20-something males waving guns around to compensate for their sense of powerlessness. Almost like it’s a trend now.


Filed under gun control, gun violence, Guns, Tennessee

23 responses to “Tennessee Gun Report

  1. Excellent collection of ‘accidents and killings from the ‘not-responsible for their guns just ‘going off’…even though innocents once again are very DEAD. The list you refer to was also in the Knoxville News Sentinel with apparently NO comments. Has our State become so numbed to these daily incompetent boobs who hardly even know which end of a fire arm pours out bullets ? In my opinion every person who wants to possess a gun and walk around in public with it loaded should be required to take a written safety test. And if they fail to pass it, they (he or she) should be banned from gun ownership. Period.

  2. Jim in Memphis

    Off topic but I wanted to respond to your reply on zoning in the Nashville development post. I am not against zoning regulations but I don’t think they apply in this case. The structure built is a single family house. Just because it is rented on a short term basis does not mean it doesn’t meet the zoning requirements in place.

    • Actually, “zoning” covers a building’s use, not just the structure itself. So it very much does apply. It’s why we have some very charming retail shops operating out of old homes in commercial districts like Hillsboro Village and Berry Hill. And it’s why we don’t have a McDonald’s operating out of a converted home in the middle of my residential street.

      • Jim in Memphis

        But the use of a short term rental is still “residential.” It is being used to house people. It is not retail or fast food.

      • You are wrong. There is more to the “residential” zoning classification than just “housing people.” Please read the zoning code and when you’re done come back.

      • Jim in Memphis

        Here is what I found:

        Short Term Rental Property (STRP). A STRP is permitted as an accessory use in all zoning districts that allow residential use provided a permit has been issued for operation of the property as a STRP pursuant to Section 6.28.030 of the Metropolitan Code. In IWD, IR and IG, STRP is permitted as an accessory use to a multi-family use associated with Manufacturing, Artisan use.

      • And…?

        The part of the statute you cite doesn’t say STRP use is allowed because “the use of a short term rental is still ‘residential,'” as you stated in your comment. It says it’s allowed as “an accessory use.” There are a lot of allowed accessory uses. Keeping domesticated hens is an allowed accessory use of a residential property. Having a garage sale is an allowed accessory use, by statute, and you’re limited to the number of such sales in a set time period. Operating a day care out of a home is also allowed, with conditions. That’s how the zoning code works. Don’t understand why you are being so obtuse on this matter.

        You can try to justify allowing people to operate what is basically a hotel in a residential neighborhood but I’m not buying it. Unfortunately the STRP lobby has bamboozled enough people into allowing this but we’ve had enough complaints and issues to recognize why this was a really bad idea. It’s especially bad when the operator of said hotel is some fucking real estate developer who is only tangentially invested in the community and only to the point where he can better market his hotel, er I mean, “STRP.”

      • Jim in Memphis

        How am I being obtuse? I did not hide the fact that it is an accessory use – that term is right in the code section I posted. It is an allowed use of a residential property when you have the permit to do so. So the zoning code that you say doesn’t allow STRPs to exist in residential zones does in fact expressly allow them to exist in all residential zones. These are not defined as hotels by the same zoning code and you know that. Why refer to them as hotels? You cite other allowed uses such as running a daycare or keeping hens. Do you complain when people choose to use their property for these legal functions as well? These accessory functions are considered residential uses of property i.e. not commercial. They are not the same as running a McDonald’s out of your kitchen or a repair garage in your front yard.

      • Jim wrote at 8:44 am:

        “But the use of a short term rental is still “residential.” It is being used to house people. It is not retail or fast food.”

        Jim wrote at 10:58 am:

        “A STRP is permitted as an accessory use in all zoning districts that allow residential use provided a permit has been issued….”

        Jim wrote at 1:40 pm:

        “I did not hide the fact that it is an accessory use – that term is right in the code section I posted.”

        You do not see some conflict between your first comment and your second and third comments?

      • Jim in Memphis

        If I have a vegetable garden in my back yard would my house then be zoned as a farm? No – it is a “residential” use of my property. Yes these are considered as “accessory use” but they still fall under residential uses and are allowed in residential zones for that reason. My intention was to state that STRPs are not like other commercial uses (i.e. fast food restaurant, chemical plant, etc.) that would not be allowed in a residential zoning.

      • If you sold your vegetables in the grocery store then yes, you’d be a farm. I’m sure the classification for agricultural use has some kind of acreage qualifier. But yes, scale and commercial use add another dynamic to the equation. If your lot is small, and you’ve only got 3 tomato plants, then you probably don’t meet the ceiling for being an agricultural use. So sell your 5 tomatoes at the farmer’s market, no one cares. If you have 3 acres, then your operation is of a scale to cause problems for the rest of us. And zoning exists to prevent that. So your farm, even if it has a pretty house in the front and you live in it, isn’t allowed in a residential neighborhood.

        This shit isn’t hard, Jim. Unless you’re trying to make it hard.

        Let’s take this same example and make it slightly less benign: from a vegetable garden to, say, a compost pile. A personal compost pile for your own personal use? Fine. A commercial composting operation, where mulch is sold to other gardeners, and that’s how you make your living? Not fine. Not zoned. Not allowed.

        People staying at STRPs are not doing so for free. They aren’t friends and relatives crashing on your couch. They are paying for the service, which is advertised on an international message board. And the other point, which you have ignored, is the difference between owner-occupied and non-owner occupied STRPs. In the owner-occupied model, someone lives at the house and rents out their accessory building, or stays with a friend and rents out their house while it’s being rented. It’s still THEIR house, and they live in it and the neighborhood for a certain number of days a year. They still are answerable to their neighbors.

        In the non-owner occupied model, a real estate developer owns 3, 4, 5 maybe even more of these properties. They don’t live in the neighborhood, it’s a business, not a home. They may never even step in the door. They hire Merry Maids to clean the property and have one of their employees “manage” the property, as in, answer the emails and manage the calendar and answer questions from renters. They’re not vested in the neighborhood, hell they don’t even know their neighbors.

        This is 80% of the STRP permits in Nashville. It’s a business, a very profitable one. Operating out of a residential neighborhood. Which is supposed to not be allowed. Except that Metro Council carved out this one little loophole for developers. Because developers own this city and own our Metro Council.

        I’m always dumbfounded at your black and white perspective on the world. We keep having the same argument and it always come down to the same thing. You want to draw neat lines with everything fitting on one side of the line or the other. Is this some kind of conservative thing? The world doesn’t work that way, Jim. Just because something looks like a house and people “reside” in it for a day or two or three, that doesn’t make it a residential use. Someone paid money to “reside” in the house. Contrary to the AirBnB advertisement, they aren’t “living there” when they stay for 2 days. They weren’t there when the neighbors banded together to stop an unwanted development, or lobbied the Metro Council to get sidewalks, or held a neighborhood crime meeting, or worked to get a crosswalk at a dangerous intersection, or joined together to get the local park cleaned up. They’re a fucking tourist enjoying the benefits of sidewalks and parks and everything else that ACTUAL residents worked for. And some developer who doesn’t even live in the neighborhood is getting rich exploiting the hard work and effort of the REAL residents. And all we get are drunken party girls and trash and fireworks going off at 2 a.m.

        So you can try your bullshit argument that it should be allowed because a “residence is a residence” but that is a special piece of stupid that I’m not buying.

      • Jim in Memphis

        I think you are going to have a hard time convincing the government officials to change the zoning laws to prevent the operation of STRPs in your neighborhood. I would expect that most people would agree with me that the use of the house as a short term rental would qualify as a residential operation and would not see a reason to change that to a commercial, business, or other zoning requirement. You seem hung up on not wanting strangers to walk around your neighborhood. Why are you so defensive against people you don’t know? Are you petitioning to be a part of a gated community or do you already live in one? Maybe what you need is to move into a community that has a neighborhood association that would have rules in place to not allow rentals. You seem rather anti tourist as well. I would think Nashville would want as many tourists as possible to visit and pay our extremely high sales taxes to help fund your sidewalks, parks, and other nice features rather than having to raise your property taxes.

        Well whatever – I guess we will just disagree on this.

      • I feel like Type 2 STRPs — the ones which are non-owner operated, and are commercial businesses — should definitely be banned from residential districts. Whether I’m successful or not remains to be seen but your argument that “it’s a house, people “reside” there, ergo, it’s a “residential use,” is utter bullshit, and doesn’t meet any standard for any zoning debate I’ve ever participated in. And believe me, I’ve been involved in a BUNCH. Keep in mind, our “zoning laws” allowing STRPs are only 1 year old. It’s not like people have been doing this forever. And in that one year we’ve had enough headaches and problems that residents are demanding a change. We’re just one child abduction away from putting AirBnB out of business.

      • “Why are you so defensive against people you don’t know?”

        At every single neighborhood crime meeting I’ve attended, in which Metro Nashville Police send their neighborhood precinct liaison to talk to us about neighborhood safety, we’re told to “know your neighbors.” Know your neighbors (we do), and when you see strangers, be on the alert. And if you see something suspicious, call the police.

        How the fuck is that supposed to work when you have strangers coming through every weekend?

        I saw some suspicious-looking people walking through my neighbor’s yard and nearly called the police on them. I’d never seen them before. Suddenly here’s this weird looking couple walking around Robert and Christy’s yard? WTF would you do? Turns out they were walking to the AirBnB I didn’t know existed behind another property owner’s garage.

        That’s why.

  3. Democommie

    Jimbo (b) is not ( …against zoning regulation) in HIS neighborhood; but you folks who DON’T make $250K or better, tough shit. Got it!

  4. Democommie

    Bet that Mr. FREEMARKETS4EVAH would feel a bit different if there were 5 of them within a block of his manse.

    • Well, that’s the thing. Just because they haven’t been a problem for Jim doesn’t mean they haven’t been a problem for anyone else. Try living in Germantown and having a damn bachelorette party in your neighborhood every weekend from May to August. Try walking out to get the morning paper and having to wash the vomit off your front walk. I mean, please. That’s the thing about conservatives: nothing is ever, EVER a problem, unless it’s first a problem for THEM.

      • paradoxresearch

        ” That’s the thing about conservatives: nothing is ever, EVER a problem, unless it’s first a problem for THEM.”

        That’s the advantage of not seeing/considering past the end of your nose.

    • Jim in Memphis

      DC – you like to state what my opinion is without any regard for the truth. Whether the next door house was a short term rental, a long term rental, or just another owner, there is the possibility that it could be a “party” house. The zoning ordinance has specific penalties called out as to the revocation of the STRP permit for problem houses. In fact, it would be a lot easier to get a STRP shut down than to get a nuisance neighbor that owned the home removed from the neighborhood.

  5. Democommie

    Jimbo (b):

    You’re on record as pretty much not giving a fuck about anyone who isn’t you.

    Let me know when that changes.