President Joe Biden wasted no time Monday to use the murders of six people at a private Christian grade school in Nashville, allegedly by a 28-year-old woman reportedly armed with two semiautomatic rifles and a handgun, to push his gun ban agenda.
She was killed by responding Nashville police officers. One NBC report identified the suspect as Audrey Hale.
Biden has been calling for a ban on so-called “assault rifles” for many years and used it as part of his presidential campaign three years ago.
The victims in Monday’s murderous rampage included three students and three staff members, according to Fox News. The killer apparently gained entry through a side door at the Covenant School. There were conflicting reports the female suspect may have once been a student at the school, but Nashville Police Chief John Drake was not certain what years she may have attended the private school.
The shooting comes at a time when Congress and state legislatures are battling over proposals to ban so-called “assault weapons.” Monday’s incident can only add fuel to that political fire. In one report, CNN noted that Senate Majority Leader Dick Durbin (D-IL) also declared his support for banning semi-auto rifles and closing alleged gaps in the background check system.
All of these remarks were made even before police were able to find out much about the shooter or what her motive might have been.
In a separate report, Fox News confirmed Biden—speaking to a group of small business owners at a White House event—called on Congress to renew the ban “just like he helped pass in 1994.” Passage of that ten-year ban helped bring gun voters to the polls that year in huge numbers, throwing out more than 50 Democrat members of Congress and costing the party control of Capitol Hill for more than a decade.
Monday afternoon, police were only saying the female shooter was a resident of Nashville, but they were still not naming her.
By all accounts, police responded within minutes to the first call, and two of the first five officers on the scene engaged and killed the woman. She had made it all the way to the second floor of the school building after apparently entering through a side door.
Mass shootings by women are considered rare events. Typical mass shooters are male.
Not so rare, however, are efforts to exploit the shooting. In one strange event, reported by The Hill, a woman identified as Ashbey Beasley “took over a Fox News livestream” Monday, claiming to be a survivor of the mass shooting in Highland Park, Illinois.
USA Today noted that “Biden’s push to reenact a ban…has gained no traction in the Republican-led House and even faces an uphill climb in the Democratic-controlled Senate despite a series of gun shootings nationally.”
Nearly two years ago, the White House released Biden’s “comprehensive strategy” to “prevent and respond” to gun-related crime and “ensure public safety.” The high points of that package remain online today:
- Stem the flow of firearms used to commit violence, including by holding rogue firearms dealers accountable for violating federal laws;
- Support local law enforcement with federal tools and resources to help address summer violent crime;
- Invest in evidence-based community violence interventions;
- Expanding summer programming, employment opportunities, and other services and supports for teenagers and young adults; and
- Help formerly incarcerated individuals successfully reenter their communities.
There does not appear to be a single thing in this plan about locking up armed criminals, nor does there appear to be anything in these points that might have prevented the Nashville shooting. Police have not yet said whether the suspect got the guns legally.
Writing at USA Today, columnist Rex Huppke declared, “Hang your Second Amendment.” He wraps up his column declaring, “It’s the guns. It has always been the guns. And until we treat them like the deadly tools we know they are, it will always be the guns.”
So, the “blame the guns” chorus has already begun tuning up. Various messages on social media reflect this approach, while others want to spend more on mental health efforts.
Perhaps before blaming the gun, the suspect ought to be blamed. In this case, however, the suspect is already dead.
About Dave Workman