Two days after a school gunman killed three children and three staff members at a private Christian school in Nashville, Democratic lawmakers are reintroducing legislation they say will help the nation understand an “enduring epidemic of gun violence.”
House and Senate Democrats held a news conference Wednesday afternoon renewing their efforts to fund research at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) that would track gun violence in the United States and inform firearm safety measures.
“We know this isn’t a panacea, but it’s a piece of the puzzle that has been locked for 20 years because knowledge is power,” said bill sponsor Sen. Ed Markey, D-Mass. “Too long, the [National Rifle Association] and their acolytes in the United States House of Representatives and Senate wanted to deprive the people of power.”
The Gun Violence Prevention Research Act, which the Democratic Legislature passed after several mass shootings in recent years, would allocate $50 million each fiscal year for the next five years to support the CDC’s research into firearm safety and gun violence prevention to promote. Democrats said it would complement research projects already overseen by the CDC, including research to understand the unique harms young people face, reducing gun violence in highest-risk communities, and preventing firearm suicides among military personnel and veterans and more.
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Six people were killed at a private Christian school in Nashville on Monday when a emotionally disturbed 28 year old feminine who identified as a transgender man, went on a killing spree with two rifles and a pistol, police said.
Three children and three adults were killed in the shooting. The victims were: Evelyn Dieckhaus, 9, Hallie Scruggs, 9, William Kinney, 9, Cynthia Peak, 61, Katherine Koonce, 60, and Mike Hill, 61.
The shooter was neutralized by intervening police officers with the Metropolitan Nashville Police Department. The officers’ names were Michael Collazo, 31, and Rex Engelbert, 27.
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In response to the shooting, Democrats have renewed their calls for gun control laws. The White House has urged Congress to “do something” while Republicans said the nation is facing a mental health crisis that no gun laws could solve. Democrats reject this answer.
“How many more lives must be lost before Congress is moved to act?” Markey demanded at the press conference. “How many families must be torn apart?”
Republicans have previously opposed expanded funding for gun violence research at the CDC, arguing that such efforts would lead to “propaganda” for gun seizures. Rep. Tim Burchett, R-Tenn., said Tuesday that Congress shouldn’t get involved after mass shootings, arguing that federal lawmakers have no power to prevent gun crime and are just “messing things up.”
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He angers efforts on both sides of the aisle to politicize the tragedy, calling it a “horrible situation”.
Democrats admit their bill would not have stopped the Nashville shooting. But House sponsor Rep. Elissa Slotkin, D-Mich., argued it is the duty of elected officials to protect children by funding studies that can help gun safety, comparing the bill to studies that the U.S -Government had implemented seat belts and car seats in the 1970s and 1980s to improve child safety in cars. She said these studies are “fundamental” to a push to mandate car seats and seat belts that save lives.
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“To my colleagues who refuse to consider gun safety laws, if you are so sure that gun safety laws are bad, you should at least be willing to investigate the issue and get the data you say you are.” do something to protect our children,” she challenged.
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