Nashville school shooting leaves seven people dead

Tragedy struck in Nashville, Tenn. last Monday. The Covenant School, a private Presbyterian elementary school, was the target of a mass shooting that took the lives of an eight-year-old and two nine-year-old children, alongside three staff members. It marked the 19th shooting at an educational institution and 130th mass shooting in the U.S. this year.

The shooter was a 28-year-old former student of The Covenant School, fueled by a “resentment,” according to the Nashville Police. Authorities said the shooter did not have a criminal history and purchased seven firearms from five separate legal proprietors, three of which were used in the attack.

NBC News reported that the weapons were kept hidden at the perpetrator’s parents’ home while under doctoral care for an “emotional disorder.” Under Tennessee legal code, someone receiving “voluntary treatment for mental conditions” can buy firearms, given they have not been “adjudicated as a mental defective or have been committed to a mental institution.” The incident, once again, has brought gun laws into question. Across the country, Democrats across are proposing expanding gun control policies while Republicans wish to retain or relax gun policies in place. Some Democrats, however, are hesitant to sign onto legislation, especially pertaining to the facts of this incident.

According to the police chief, the perpetrator identified as transgender, a demographic that tends to suffer more from emotional disorders. Targeted firearm legislation towards people suffering with similar emotional distress could make it disproportionately more difficult for many trans people and other affected groups to obtain firearms.

According to investigators, the perpetrator wrote in notebooks their plans to commit a shooting across locations in Nashville before taking their own life. A written manifesto included maps of the school and other disturbing details. On the morning of the shooting, at around 9:54 a.m., the perpetrator arrived at the school parking lot and began texting a childhood friend, explaining the plan. At 10:13 a.m., the friend contacted Nashville’s Davidson County Sheriff's Office to report what was about to happen, and at 10:14 a.m., the perpetrator shot through a set of glass side doors and entered the building.

Released body cam footage shows that police arrived at 10:24 a.m. and spared no time making their way into the building. On the second floor, at 10:27 a.m., they came in contact with the shooter and fatally shot them. In contrast, Uvalde police spent 74 minutes on-site before breaching the classroom with the shooter during the May 24 school shooting.

Nashville, along with the country, has come to mourn the victims and the families of all affected. The city of Nashville has set up a GoFundMe to assist the affected families, and The Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee has also set up a fund to manage donations made to the school. Within 48 hours of the events, over $203,135.70 was raised from 1,982 donations.

First Lady Jill Biden visited Nashville to attend a candlelight vigil ceremony honoring and praying for the fallen victims as well as praising the police who responded quickly and heroically put themselves in front of danger to save children. President Joe Biden also addressed the school shooting, calling on Congress to enact an “assault weapons ban” to prevent further mass shootings from happening.

While some politicians have come into a deadlock on the matter, some support for change has come up. Governor Bill Lee (Tenn.-R), has advocated for greater school security. Lt. Gov. Randy McNally (Tenn.-R) also called for increasing armed guards on school institutions and fortifying them with bulletproof windows and doors. Tennessee's U.S. senators Marsha Blackburn and Bill Hagerty have introduced a motion called SAFE School Act, applying $900 million of state funds towards “hardening” schools and increasing the presence of safety officers.