1 day after Nashville school shooting, Memphis lawmakers talk focus on mental health care, gun laws

Published: Mar. 28, 2023 at 5:43 PM CDT
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NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WMC) - As Nashville continues to mourn the six victims of Monday’s school shooting, some Nashvillians say they want lawmakers to do more to prevent the violence.

Some of those voters took their concerns to the capitol.

Anti-gun violence advocacy group Moms Demand Action held a rally near House lawmakers Tuesday, mourning the victims of Monday’s shooting and questioning why shootings like this continue to happen.

This comes as a new revelation in the investigation into The Covenant School shooting was revealed by police.

The 28-year-old school shooter who opened fire inside the private Christian school on Monday morning had a mental health disorder, according to the Metro Nashville Police Department.

“So, that person didn’t wake up overnight and decide to carry this out,” said Democratic Representative G.A. Hardaway. “There were signs. We’ve got to have better training on how to recognize this.”

Rep. Hardaway and Memphis Republican John Gillespie both agree the state needs to focus on mental health care more, but Gillespie also cracking down on the consequences of gun crimes.

“We really need to double down our efforts to make sure that people are getting the adequate help,” said Rep. Gillespie. “This catch and release of arresting people is not doing anyone any favors, so I think those are the bigger picture issues that we really need to get a hard look at.”

As the investigation unfolds, Gillespie also says it’s too soon to take policy actions, but would like to see stricter enforcement on who is eligible to purchase guns.

“We really do have to take a hard look at, not necessarily restricting gun ownership, but looking at who owns guns,” said Gillespie. “And taking a real hard look at on those parameters and the enforcement of that.”

Detectives have since learned that the shooter, 28-year-old Audrey Hale, bought seven weapons at five different stores, and the guns were purchased legally and locally.

“They were legally purchased and three of those weapons were used yesterday,” said Metro Nashville Police Chief John Drake.

Police also say Hale was not on their radar before the shooting.

“Mass murder of little children has been normalized, and we accept it,” said Hardaway. “We expect it. Time and time again.”

Metro Nashville Police are still investigating a motive behind Monday’s shooting but have said Hale was a former student at The Covenant School.

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