McCarthy Says Legislation Won’t Solve Gun Violence In Wake Of Nashville Shooting


House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) brushed off a question about whether the GOP would take any formal action in response to the Nashville school shooting on Thursday, echoing others in the party who have said legislation will not solve gun violence—sentiment that has enraged Democratic lawmakers.

Key Facts

McCarthy said, “I don’t think one piece of legislation solves this,” in response to a reporter’s question during an unrelated press conference on Thursday, adding “we’ve got to deal with mental illness.”

McCarthy on Wednesday, in his first comments on the shooting at a private Christian school that left three 9-year-olds and four adults dead, said lawmakers need to “see all the facts” before taking an action.

McCarthy’s statements echo those made by other GOP members in recent days, including Rep. Tim Burchett (R-Tenn.), who said Monday “we’re not gonna fix it. Criminals are going to be criminals,” and House Majority Leader Steve Scalise, who said “the first thing in any kind of tragedy that I do is—I pray,” adding that Congress should consider new mental health and school security measures.

The shooting has sparked a heated partisan debate about gun control among lawmakers in Washington that devolved into a screaming match between Rep. Jamaal Bowman (D-N.Y.) and Rep. Thomas Massie (R-N.Y.) in the halls of the Capitol on Wednesday, where Massie argued in favor of teachers carrying guns and told Bowman to calm down, to which he responded: “Calm down?! Children are dying!”

Further Viewing

Key Background

A 28-year-old suspect, Audrey Hale, shot and killed three adults and three students at the Covenant School in Nashville on Monday morning before dying in a shootout with police, officials have said. Police said Hale purchased seven guns legally and brought three of them, including two AR-style firearms, to the school. Hale was a former student at the school and was being treated for an emotional disorder under a doctor’s care, officials said. While the shooter’s motive is unclear, officials have said Hale targeted the school and its adjacent church.


President Joe Biden repeated his calls for Congress to pass his assault weapons ban in the aftermath of the shooting and said Wednesday there was little else he could do if lawmakers were not willing to act. The ban is highly unlikely to pass during this session of Congress after Republicans (who are notoriously adverse to new gun controls) regained control of the House in November and Democrats exhausted their negotiating tools in passing the first piece of major gun-control legislation last summer, the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act.

Chief Critic

House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries (D-N.Y.) assailed Republicans for their inaction in the wake of Monday’s shooting, telling reporters Thursday during his weekly press briefing “weapons of war—which are not used to hunt deer, but are used to hunt human beings and slaughter innocent children—do not belong in our communities.” Jeffries called for Congress to take up the assault weapons ban in addition to legislation to strengthen background check laws.

Surprising Fact

Senate Chaplain Barry Black called on lawmakers to “move beyond thoughts and prayers,” on Tuesday in a rare allusion to politics during his opening prayer before the Senate. “When babies die at a church school,” lawmakers need to act to prevent similar tragedies from happening in the future, he said, while praying for senators to avoid “the paralysis of analysis that waits for the miraculous.”

Further Reading

Senate Chaplain Urges Congress To ‘Move Beyond Thoughts And Prayers’ After Nashville School Shooting (Forbes)

White House Renews Calls For Assault Weapons Ban After Nashville Shooting—Here’s Why The Odds Of Passing The Bill Have Grown Even Slimmer (Forbes)

Nashville Shooting: What We Know About The 28-Year-Old Suspect (Forbes)

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