A deadly shooting at a Christian grade school in Nashville, Tenn., shows there must be more safeguards present within the bounds of the Second Amendment to protect children from suspects who may have mental illness or other issues that should preclude them from owning firearms, former D.C. homicide Det. Ted Williams said
Monday’s shooting at the Covenant School left three students and three adults dead, including the head of the school, and the shooter was killed by police, authorities said. Nashville police say officers engaged with and killed the shooter, identified as a 28-year-old Audrey Elizabeth Hale, a Nashville resident who identified as a transgender woman. Investigators were investigating a home connected to her. Nashville police Chief John Drake said Hale possibly prepared for the shooting, including having written a manifesto.
Williams told “The Story” that in school shootings in Broward County, Fla., Columbine, Colo., Sandy Hook, Conn., and Uvalde, Texas, all suspects had some form of mental illness or had a problematic accessibility to firearms.
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“I’m deeply, deeply troubled by the fact that we get on – we often offer condolences, we talk about what is taking place. We analyze what is taking place, and then we move on to the next killing,” he said.
“At some stage in the United States of America, we are going to have to do a deep dive into what is going on – these are babies.”
“How did this 28-year-old woman get ahold to at least two semiautomatic weapons and a gun?” Williams asked. “How did she get those things? What was her state of mind? All of these things that they are now trying to look at.”
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Williams stressed that he supports the Second Amendment right to bear arms, but that mental illness and other factors must be looked at as potential limitations.
“Can we learn in America to do something to save our children?” he asked. ” I want to make sure I’m clear: We don’t know if this [Tennessee suspect] was mentally ill or not. But sane people don’t do what has taken place here today. So we have to take a deep dive, look at ourselves inflectively and say, what can we do to save our children from another Uvalde, another Columbine, another Sandy Hook?
Williams also noted the rarity of a female shooting suspect, adding he mostly only remembers the San Bernardino, Calif., office shooting as the last major incident to be executed by a woman. (The perpetrators in that mass shooting were husband and wife Syed Rizwan Farook and Tashfeen Malik.)
Tennessee State Rep. Bob Freeman, D-Davidson, who told “The Story” he lives near the shooting site and has friends with children who go to the school, said he was unaware of its specific security protocols. However, underlined he does not believe that “more guns” is the proper response to the a tragedy – adding that cops responded within 15 minutes and that other schools’ resource officers “didn’t have an impact” on some shootings.
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“It’s easy to point out and say, ‘if only’,” Freeman said. “But I think we’ve got to have a real hard look in the mirror and talk about how do we keep guns out of the hands of people that don’t need to have them – that doesn’t mean restricting gun ownership.”
“People all across our city tonight are going to be having extremely tough conversations with their kids, trying to explain why this continues to happen.”
President Biden called the Nashville school shooting “sick” ane “heartbreaking” and urged Congress to pass an assault weapons ban just like the ban he helped pass in 1994. That law enacted a 10-year ban on the manufacture, transfer or possession of “semiautomatic assault weapons” (SAWs) and “large capacity ammunition feeding devices.” It formally expired on Sept. 13, 2004.
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