NASHVILLE, Tenn. — The Tennessee chapters of Moms Demand Action and Students Demand Action, both part of Everytown for Gun Safety’s grassroots network, released the following statements in response to a mass shooting Monday afternoon at The Covenant School in Nashville, Tennessee, which serves students from preschool through 6th grade. While details are still emerging, reporting shows at least three children and three adults were shot and killed by a 28-year-old female shooter.
“School shootings are not acts of nature — they’re manmade acts of cowardice enabled by lawmakers who have accepted children being shot in their school as an acceptable price to pay for the support of the gun industry,” said Shannon Watts, founder of Moms Demand Action. “In America and in Tennessee, guns are the leading killer of kids yet Tennessee lawmakers have done nothing but gut gun safety laws, putting gun industry profits ahead of the safety of our children. We don’t have to live this way and our children certainly don’t have to die this way.”
“Gun violence is now the leading killer of American children and teens, a shameful fact that has been bolstered by the horrific school shooting in Tennessee,” said John Feinblatt, president of Everytown for Gun Safety. “Our hearts go out to the victims and survivors, whom Everytown will honor in the best way we know: by fighting tooth and nail to create a safer, saner future for all Americans.”
“Going to school shouldn’t be a death sentence,” said Iman Omer, a Students Demand Action volunteer, and student at Vanderbilt University. “Students came to school this morning ready to learn. Some never left, and the rest went home with trauma that will stay with them for the rest of their lives. Thanks to lawmaker inaction, nowhere is safe — we will continue to show up and demand action so our biggest worry at school can be studying, not staying alive.”
“This is the devastating reality of being a parent in America: sending your kids to school and not knowing if they’ll come home,” said Leeann Hewlett, a volunteer with the Tennessee chapter of Moms Demand Action. “Our hearts break for the Nashville parents and family members that are going through the unimaginable right now. While we can’t undo the pain, we will honor them with action. We are sick and tired of these senseless acts of gun violence in our communities and we will hold our lawmakers accountable for the tragedy they’ve enabled.”
Tennessee has the 12th highest rate of gun deaths in the United States and some of the weakest gun laws in the country. Despite continued acts of gun violence, lawmakers continue to cave to the gun lobby’s “guns everywhere” agenda. Last week, the Senate Judiciary Committee advanced legislation that would lower the age for permitless carry from 21 to 18, which would allow teenagers to carry loaded handguns in public, either concealed or openly. Tomorrow, the Tennessee Senate Judiciary Committee is scheduled to hear a dangerous bill that will allow school faculty and staff to carry a concealed handgun on school grounds. Research shows that arming teachers increases the risk of gun violence in schools and puts the lives of students, teachers, and law enforcement at risk. Instead of further weakening the state’s gun laws, lawmakers should pass policies that will protect communities such as enacting responsible gun storage requirements for both vehicles and homes, repealing Shoot First, also known as Stand Your Ground, and repealing permitless carry. Adding more guns into the mix will only exacerbate these painful consequences.
In an average year, 1,385 people are killed by guns in Tennessee, with a 52% increase from 2012 to 2021, compared to a 39% increase nationwide. Gun violence costs Tennessee around $18 billion each year. More information about gun violence in Tennessee is available here.
If you are interested in speaking with a Tennessee Moms Demand Action or Students Demand volunteer, or a policy expert please reach out to [email protected].