The “cult of the gun” should not be celebrated. The country needs to pick itself up and say no to an assault weapons lobby that again is making it too available and too convenient and too first of mind for people to go out and commit terrible acts. Guns lead to tragedies. Whatever your political feelings are, we should not be celebrating the cult of the gun.

— Nashville Mayor John Cooper

First praying for the children, school staff and families. We are sick and tired of being sick and tired killing our children. Can’t we please stop focusing on tiktok and focus on implementing gun laws that can help prevent these atrocities. #Praying

-— Vivian M. Wilhoite, Assessor of Property, Metropolitan Nashville & Nashville & Davidson County

My heart is broken for the victims and families at Covenant School.

As a mother and a strong supporter of education, this both saddens and outrages me to my very soul. No student, no parent, no teacher, and no staff should have to go to a school building every day with the specter of gun violence looming over them.

When is it finally enough?

 We must have a conversation about how to end this insanity, and we will. But today is about giving our love and support to the victims and their families. I stand firmly with them at this challenging time.

Sharon Hurt, Metro Councilwoman/Mayoral Candidate

The Tennessee Black Caucus of State Legislators stands with Nashville and the families of Covenant Christian School as they deal with this horrible event. This tragedy should serve as a clarion call for responsible gun ownership. 128 mass shootings in America this year and today is day 87 of the year 2023! When will enough be enough? Our ‘prayers’ need to become more thoughtful and intentional regarding this issue. The TBCSL respects our Second Amendment right to carry, yet this issue of senseless mass murder has become out of control. We have got to do more to protect children and all those providing an education for them. We have done nothing to address the root problem: proliferation of militarized guns in our communities. 

We stand with President Biden as he continues to call on Congress to pass the Assault Rifle Ban. Prayers are good, but faith without works is dead. There is pending legislation in Tennessee to decrease the age of open carry to 18 years of age and add long guns on the list of weapons for regular citizens to own. As a first step, we believe this legislation should be pulled. Tennessee has some of the worst regulations on background checks when purchasing a weapon in the Nation; this we all agree on. Our constituents deserve real solutions. This is not about “politicizing the issue”. This is about our moral obligation as lawmakers to act. We cannot normalize mass shootings! Do not allow yourselves to become desensitized to mass school shootings. It is not normal.

— The Tennessee Black Caucus of State Legislators

Words fail us.

Nashville is still a small town in many ways, so everyone knows people who lost someone. The suffering is raw and immediate, and with the passage of hours there is a growing awareness that for every life lost, there were so many more that are forever changed, if not destroyed.

At these times, there is a focus on the particulars of the incident, the pathology of the shooter, the heroism of responders. But at bottom, we know that there are failures of governance that led to the tragedy. The proof is in the fact that gun violence is distinctively an American epidemic. It is fueled by the failures of elected officials who magnify partisan divisions and play on fears, rather than address the real needs and aspirations of ordinary families. Officials who express condolences to families touched by mass shootings are indifferent to the toll that every day gun violence visits on Americans, especially poor families who must raise their children in dangerous neighborhoods. There are common sense approaches to gun safety and mental health that have broad bipartisan support, but our state officials focus instead on petty partisanship.

It need not be this way. We work with Tennesseans across the political spectrum, and we know that most people share the same values and beliefs. They want government to help them provide for their families:

Safety from preventable violence.

Affordable, effective health services, including mental health services.

Respect for the sacred dignity of every person.

We pray for those touched by this tragedy, and we pray that our leaders honor them by governing with courage and genuine compassion.

— Michele M. Johnson, Executive Director, Tennessee Justice Center