Democrats Reintroduce Gun Control Bill in Response to Nashville Shooting

Democrats Reintroduce Gun Control Bill in Response to Nashville Shooting
Hunting rifles and shotguns at a gun store in Toronto, Canada, in a file photo. (Kevin Frayer/The Canadian Press)
Savannah Hulsey Pointer

Four Democrat lawmakers have reintroduced the Gun Violence Prevention Research Act, which would provide $50 million annually for the next five years to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to further research and prevention efforts to address the gun violence epidemic in the United States.

Senator Edward Markey (D-Mass.) and Representatives Elissa Slotkin (D-Mich), Mark Takano (D-Calif.), and Marilyn Strickland (D-Wash.) announced the reintroduction of the bill on March 29, just days after the Nashville school shooting.
Six people died in the March 27 attack at the private Christian school in Nashville—three students and three employees—when 28-year-old shooter Audrey Hale went on a rampage with two rifles and a handgun, according to authorities.

The victims were: Evelyn Dieckhaus, 9, Hallie Scruggs, 9, William Kinney, 9, Cynthia Peak, 61, Katherine Koonce, 60, and Mike Hill, 61.

The lawmakers asserted in the press release announcing the legislation that over the past five years, gun violence has taken the lives of more than 180,000 people in the United States.

"I am outraged and horrified by the massacre in Nashville, which took the lives of three innocent children. We cannot keep living this way, and our children cannot keep dying this way," said Markey, according to the press release.

"From our streets to our schools, it's clear that Congress hasn't yet done what it's going to take to end this fatal crisis.

"Stopping the spread of our nation's gun violence epidemic will require acting on the reforms we already know are essential, like an immediate assault weapons ban, while we simultaneously invest more to study the root causes of violence and develop evidence-based solutions.

"My legislation would bolster gun violence prevention research with the help of our nation's top medical, scientific, and public health researchers so that we can chart a path out of this public health crisis and save lives."

The bill builds on existing efforts to secure $100 million for federal gun violence prevention research between fiscal years 2020 and 2023, which included funding for more than 20 individual research projects studying gun violence prevention.

The legislation aims to expand research on the unique harms posed to young people, mitigate gun violence in high-risk communities, and prevent firearm suicides among military service members and veterans, among other efforts.

Nashville Police Chief John Drake said the shooter did not target specific victims but did attack "this school, this church building," police spokesperson Don Aaron said at a news conference on March 28.

The perpetrator was under a doctor's care for an undisclosed emotional disorder that was not known to police before the attack.