Nashville shooting: McCarthy says not ‘one piece of legislation solves’ mass shootings

Kevin McCarthy
Speaker of the House Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., and GOP leaders meet with reporters following a closed-door briefing on the budget that will be submitted by President Joe Biden, at the Capitol in Washington, Wednesday, March 8, 2023. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite) J. Scott Applewhite/AP

Nashville shooting: McCarthy says not ‘one piece of legislation solves’ mass shootings

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House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) does not think “one piece of legislation” can fully address the matter of mass shootings in the United States, adding that everyone is looking for a solution after the recent school shooting at the Covenant School in Nashville, Tennessee.

“There’s not one person in America that doesn’t see the devastation, what happened in that school,” McCarthy told reporters on Thursday. “There’s not one person in America that doesn’t want to try to solve all this.”


Three children, aged 9, and three adults were killed after Audrey Hale, 28, who identified as transgender, entered the school on Monday morning with two assault-type weapons and a handgun and fired at random. Hale shot through a locked door to enter the building, and investigators discovered detailed maps of the school and a manifesto spelling out the specifics of the attack.

“We will look at getting all the information: Is there anything that we can do more?” McCarthy said. “But I would say to a nation as a whole that the problem we are [facing] today, it’s not just going to be a legislation. We got to have a severe conversation here with this country, we’ve got to deal with mental illness. … I don’t think one piece of legislation solves this. I think a nation together, working together, solves a problem that’s much bigger than us.”

Monday’s tragedy marks 17 school shootings in the U.S. in 2023 and 376 school shootings since the Columbine High School shooting in April 1999, per a Washington Post database. The Covenant School shooting is the deadliest mass shooting in the U.S. since the shooting at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas, in May 2022 that left 19 students and two teachers dead.

McCarthy pointed to body camera footage released by the Metropolitan Nashville Police Department from the police officers who responded to the 911 call. Two of the five officers, Rex Engelbert and Michael Collazo, fatally shot Hale 14 minutes after the initial call came through.

“I think everyone would believe that somebody has to be mentally ill to enter a school deliberately,” McCarthy said. “When you read the report, she picked between schools based upon whether one school had an armed officer that could stop her.”

Several lawmakers and national figures have pointed to different problems as the cause of the Covenant School shooting. Some Democratic and left-leaning people have blamed assault-style weapons and gun violence for the attack, while conservative lawmakers have pointed to mental illness.

Metro Nashville Police Chief John Drake said on Tuesday that Hale was being treated by a doctor for an “emotional disorder.” Hale’s parents were unaware of the seven firearms Hale had purchased legally. Drake said the parents only knew of one weapon, and they thought Hale had sold it.

Per state law, there are no requirements for background checks or training for handgun owners in Tennessee. In July 2021, Tennessee enacted a law that allowed the permitless carry of handguns, concealed and unconcealed, for anyone over the age of 21.

Tennessee lawmakers are taking the initiative to make changes in the aftermath of the shooting. Sens. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) and Bill Hagerty (R-TN) are expected to introduce legislation that would recruit veterans and retired law enforcement officers to become safety officials in schools to prevent future tragedies. As a private Christian school, the Covenant School does not currently employ school resources officers.

Gov. Bill Lee (R-TN) said on Tuesday “there will be time” for legislation conversations but that now is a time for prayers and support for the victims’ families.


McCarthy thanked the responding officers, saying they were “young men themselves” who didn’t know what “they were running into.”

“They did not slow down as they went hallway to doorway to save the others that were there,” McCarthy said.

© 2023 Washington Examiner

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