By Ami Gelman
A memorial for the victims of the Covenant School shooting in Nashville. Johnnie Izquierdo/The Washington Post/Getty Images
The Covenant School shooting in Nashville, Tennessee, shocked many Americans, and I do not understand why. Tennessee is a southern state with a Republican governor, state house, and state senate, and has voted Republican in 10 out of the last 12 presidential elections and Republican in all presidential elections since 2000.
Traditionally the Republican party has opposed gun control reforms that are statistically proven to reduce gun violence which is the most common cause of death for children and teens in America (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Wonder database, 2021). After last year’s Robb Elementary School shooting in Uvalde, Texas, all Republican lawmakers in Texas and on Capitol Hill had to offer were their thoughts and prayers for the victim’s families.
Instead of trying to prevent another shooting and ensuring that no other family would have to suffer the way the families of the Uvalde victims did, they decided to do nothing, paving the way for the Covenant School shooting, which currently they also are doing nothing about.
Shortly after the Nashville shooting, President Biden addressed reporters with an air of exasperation in his voice, telling them that he has gone as far as he can in terms of using executive power on gun control legislation. He urged Congress to take action on an assault weapons ban stating that “The majority of the American people think having assault weapons is bizarre. They’re against that. And so, I think the Congress should be passing the assault weapons ban... I can’t do anything except plead with Congress to act reasonably.” Congress has not acted, and the President’s blunt statement is just another reminder of the cruelty of Republican lawmakers who hold the power to prevent mass shootings but refuse to take action.
Another example of Republican lawmakers’ cruelty and tone-deaf attitude is Andy Ogles’ 2021 Christmas card in which he and his family are posing with guns. Ogles, the representative for Tennessee's 5th congressional district, where the shooting took place, posted the image to his social media but took it down in the wake of the shooting. However, when asked if he regretted the photo, Ogles doubled down on his insensitivity and stated that he had no reason to “regret a photograph with my family exercising my rights to bear arms.”
Andy Ogles received backlash for his Christmas card after the Covenant School shooting, which took place in his district.
There are realistic and data-proven ways that state and federal governments can prevent shootings like the Covenant School shooting from happening again. However, as long as the Republican lawmakers continue not to allow gun control legislation to pass in exchange for campaign money from the NRA, the blood of innocent Americans killed in the Covenant School shooting, Robb Elementary School shooting, and other shootings will be on their hands.
Following the Covenant School shooting, shortly after President Biden’s speech where he said that he could do nothing else about gun control without Congress, he also stated that there was “a moral price to pay for inaction.” Eventually, Republican lawmakers in federal and state governments will pay for their inaction, but until then, all the American people can do is hope, vote, and make sure their voices are heard.
If you want to help move the gun control movement forward, you can visit sites like everytown.org, sandyhookpromise.org, or momsdemandaction.org and help children the way Republican lawmakers should be.