Watch: Here’s how 5 House Republicans are responding to the TN school shooting that left 6 dead
There are 535 seats in the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives, and another six non-voting seats for delegates. After Monday’s horrific mass shooting at a private Christian elementary school, where three nine-year olds and three adults were shot to death, very few Members appeared on-camera to talk with reporters about the tragedy.
The Democrats who did advocated for various gun control measures, including reinstating the federal assault weapons ban signed into law in 1994 by President Bill Clinton that Republican lawmakers and President George W. Bush refused to renew in 2004, after which mass shootings and gun violence skyrocketed.
\u201c@peterframpton @djrothkopf The red line is when Republicans decided not to extend the assault weapons ban in 2005.\u201d— Peter Frampton (@Peter Frampton) 1679942254
President Joe Biden this week repeatedly called on Congress to pass an assault weapons ban, a call he has made over and over again.
In addition to calling for an assault weapons ban, House and Senate Democrats responded to the mass shooting at Covenant Presbyterian Elementary in Nashville by calling for tighter gun control measures including implementing red flag laws.
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The parents of the Nashville shooter have said their child had an emotional disorder and should not have had any firearms. Three were used in the assault and another four were found at the shooter’s home. Tennessee has no red flag law so police were not legally allowed to take the guns away.
After last year’s school mass shooting in Uvalde, Texas, where 19 children and two adults were shot to death, some states took action. Tennessee, where the Nashville school shooting became the nation’s 130th this year, did little.
“We’re not looking at gun restriction laws in my administration right now,” Tennessee Governor Bill Lee, a Republican, said after the tragedy. “Criminals don’t follow laws, criminals break laws. Whether they are a gun law, a drug law, criminals break laws.”
“We can’t control what they do.”
But in a sense, Governor Lee did control what they do.
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In 2021 ago he signed into law a permit-less open-carry law: no permit required, no training required, no background check required.
\u201cThree years ago, Tennessee Governor @GovBillLee announced permitless open-carry of firearms.\n\nToday, 6 people (including 3 children) were killed at a school.\u201d— Shoshana Ungerleider, MD (@Shoshana Ungerleider, MD) 1679940787
A Tennessee Republican U.S. Congressman, Tim Burchett this week repeatedly decreed there’s nothing that can be done.
Echoing almost word-for-word Governor Lee’s remarks from three years ago, in now-viral video, Rep. Burchett infamously on Monday declared, “We’re not gonna fix it. Criminals are going to be criminals.”
\u201cRep. Tim Burchett R-TN sees no role for the Congress to stop future school shootings. \n\n"We're not going to fix it. Criminals are going to be criminals."\n\nhttps://t.co/nZ0QVTHDsD\u201d— Jamie Dupree (@Jamie Dupree) 1680035709
He did, however, invoke religion, calling for a Christian revival, and declaring that was the answer to fixing mass shootings and gun violence.
On Tuesday Rep. Burchett was back in front of the cameras, furthering his call to do nothing.
“I don’t know what law we could pass,” he said. “Evil people are going to do evil things.”
\u201cRepublican Tennessee Rep. Tim Burchett says any legislation Congress could pass in the wake of the Nashville school shooting is "not going to accomplish anything."\n\n"I don't know what law we could pass," Burchett tells @CHueyBurns. "Evil people are going to do evil things."\u201d— CBS News (@CBS News) 1680040813
U.S. Rep. Ken Buck (R-CO) appeared on CNN this week and responded to the Nashville slaughter by defending his threat to President Biden to try to take his AR-15 away.
In a rare example of excellent journalism, CNN’s Phil Mattingly pressed Buck after the far-right Republican tried to change the topic.
“If Joe Biden is interested in reaching a resolution on the issue let him deal with the Southern border,” Buck defiantly declared, literally blaming President Biden’s border policies for gun violence.
He also tried to link the Nashville mass shooting to a mental health problem and then tried to link that to drug laws and a lack of funding for states for mental health services.
Rep. Buck last year voted against two mental health bills, and since 2019 has voted against the vast majority of 40 or so health care bills.
“What’s the burden on you?” Matttingly asked Buck.
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Unyieldingly, Buck replied, “My burden is to follow the Constitution, and the Second Amendment protects – there are more than two million AR-15s.”
\u201cFollowing a shooting at a school in Nashville that killed six, Colorado Republican Rep. Ken Buck reacts to a video he made in 2020 challenging Joe Biden to take away his AR-15.\u201d— CNN (@CNN) 1680056625
Republican U.S. Congressman Andy Ogles, who represents Nashville, Tennessee and came under fire again this week for his 2021 Christmas card showing him and his family, including young children, holding assault weapons, was asked about banning AR-15s.
Rep. Ogles’ response was to answer the question with another question: “Why not talk about the real issue facing this country?” which he declared, like Rep. Buck and others, is mental health. He then walked away.
\u201cGOP Congressman Andy Ogles, who represents the Nashville district where a school shooting claimed the lives of 3 adults and 3 children, said the real issue in the U.S. is mental health when asked about banning assault rifles. https://t.co/vYY5bQaq27\u201d— ABC7 Eyewitness News (@ABC7 Eyewitness News) 1680052907
U.S. Rep. Byron Donalds (R-FL) took a different tact on the GOP’s do-nothing policy while supporting the GOP’s walk-away response.
He equated assault weapons with politics and emotions.
“If you’re gonna talk about the AR-15 you’re talking politics now,” he told CNN’s Manu Raju. “Let’s not get into politics. let’s not get into emotion, because emotion feels good, but emotion doesn’t solve problems.”
He then just walked away.
\u201cRep. Byron Donalds tells CNN that talk of an AR-15 ban following the latest school shooting is just "politics" and "emotions"\n\n"Emotion doesn't solve problems," he adds\u201d— Aaron Rupar (@Aaron Rupar) 1680020004
But perhaps the greatest example of the Republican response to gun violence and mass shootings came from House Republican’s leader, Speaker Kevin McCarthy.
On Tuesday, McCarthy stood in the Capitol’s Statuary Hall to pose for photos with some tourists.
CNN’s Manu Raju asked the Speaker about the “incredibly serious situation” in Nashville, suggesting it required a response from the Speaker of the House.
He refused to provide one, then walked away.
\u201cSpeaker McCarthy continues to refuse to answer questions about Nashville shooting or whether there should be any legislative response. Says he\u2019s not answering any questions.\nPosed for photos with tourists, then went into his office\u201d— Manu Raju (@Manu Raju) 1680033524
Watch the videos above or at this link.
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