On Monday, March 27, just after 10 am, a 28-year-old Nashville resident fatally shot three children and three adults inside a privately run Christian elementary school. It was the last full week of classes before Easter at the Covenant School. Police said the assailant, Audrey Elizabeth Hale, was armed with two semi automatic weapons — an AR-15-style rifle, an “AR-style pistol” and a handgun. She is believed to have been a former student at the school.
About this latest school shooting, President Biden stated, “It's heartbreaking, a family's worst nightmare,” Biden said. “We have to do more to stop gun violence. It's ripping our communities apart, ripping at the very soul of the nation. We have to do more to protect our schools so they aren't turned into prisons."
Earlier on Monday, President Biden re-upped his call to ban semiautomatic weapons — a long-standing position of his.
“It’s about time that we begin to make some more progress,” President Biden.
How the nation is going to make that progress is not clear.
Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas) told reporters that he does not believe the Senate can do more on firearm-related bills or on expanding background checks than they already did last year. After the school shooting in Uvalde, Texas, the chamber passed the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act. The legislation was the most consequential gun safety package signed into law in three decades and became law with bipartisan support, with Cornyn as the lead GOP negotiator for the legislation.
“The president just keeps coming back to the same-old tired talking points, so he’s not offering any new solutions or ideas. If he does, I think we should consider them, but so far I haven’t heard anything,” Cornyn said. “I don’t know what’s being proposed other than why President Biden keeps coming back to, which is a ban on assault weapons, which would require the confiscation of 16 million semiautomatic weapons that are owned by law-abiding citizens.”
The No. 2 Senate Republican, Sen. John Thune (S.D.) told reporters that more details surrounding the shooting need to emerge before lawmakers can discuss possible legislative remedies.
“I don’t know. I’m not sure of the answer to that until we get more of the facts in — in this case, the lady who was the perpetrator of all this and how she acquired firearms and all that. I think those are all questions we need to get answered,” Thune said.
In contrast, Sen. Dick Durbin (Ill.), the No. 2 ranked Senate Democrat, in remarks on the Senate floor, said“Once again, thoughts and prayers are not enough,” Durbin said, adding that these school shootings are happening with a “sickening regularity in this country.”
“I urge my colleagues to come together on a bipartisan basis. We can’t say that we’ve solved this problem or even addressed it seriously when incidents like today in Nashville, Tennessee, continue in America,” Durbin continued. “We need to pass more reforms.”
Democrats want Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) to begin putting partisan bills on the floor for votes. The bills will aim for placing a ban on assault weapons and legislation calling for universal background checks.
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