Nashville Mayor Denounces GOP Rep’s Christmas Card With Family Holding Guns: ‘We Should Not Be Celebrating the Cult of the Gun’
Nashville Mayor John Cooper spoke to Hoda Kotb on Today about the shooting at a school in his city, sharing his thoughts about the horrific killings and whether he thought it would be possible to pass any gun control measures.
The shooting occurred Monday morning at the preschool and elementary school at the Covenant Presbyterian Church in Nashville. The shooter was armed with two assault-style rifles and a handgun, and is reported to have been a former student at the school. Three children and three adults were confirmed dead by the Metro Nashville Police Department, as well as confirming that the shooter had engaged with the police and was dead.
The victims were identified as three 9-year-old students, Evelyn Dieckhaus, Hallie Scruggs, and William Kinney, and three staff members at the school, Cynthia Peak, age 61, Katherine Koonce, age 60, and Mike Hill, age 61.
Kotb expressed her deepest sympathy to Cooper over what his city had experienced. The mayor mentioned his admiration for the law enforcement officers who responded to the scene and quickly confronted and stopped the killer.
Cooper spoke about the “frustration” experienced by local officials in the wake of so many mass shootings.
“In Tennessee, guns are essentially ubiquitous, and when guns and mental health issues come into contact with each other, you have big problems like we saw yesterday, in what is our worst day,” he added. “Nashville’s had challenges before, we’ve had tornados and floods, but when school children are attacked in their school, that’s your worst day.”
Kotb asked Cooper about a Christmas card sent by Rep. Andy Ogles (R-TN), an image that has gone viral since the shooting. The photo showed Ogles’ family posed in front of a Christmas tree all holding firearms, including the children. The congressman represents the district where Covenant Presbyterian is located.
“Well, I’m not on his Christmas card list,” Cooper replied, “and I don’t think it’s appropriate. And I think the whole country can look at it and shudder a little bit and realize how inappropriate it is. Guns lead to tragedies, and whatever your political feelings are, we should not be celebrating the cult of the gun.”
When asked about gun reforms, and what could possibly pass in his state, which has a Republican governor and strong GOP majorities in both chambers of the Tennessee General Assembly, Cooper acknowledged it would be “challenging” but “imperative” to still make the effort.
“I think it would be very challenging for Tennessee, but I think it needs to be brought up,” he said. “And I think people need to understand that common sense reforms, which are not really onerous on gun ownership, does make a big difference. And gun safety and common sense regulations to kind of separate mental health challenges away from active gun ownership seem imperative.”
Watch the video above, via NBC News / Today.
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