Tennessee governor who signed permitless gun carry comes under fire after Nashville school shooting

A gun safety advocate highlighted Tennessee’s Republican governor signing open carry legislation after a mass shooting in Nashville left three children and three adults dead.

Shannon Watts, the founder of Moms Demand Action, which advocates for gun safety, criticised Governnor Bill Lee for not putting out a statement after the shooting at Covenant Presbyterian School in Nashville. Metro Nashillve Police Department officers shot and killed the suspect.

“Tennessee @GovBillLee hasn't had time yet to tweet his thoughts and prayers for Covenant School, but when he does, remind him that this is exactly why police and citizens opposed the permitless carry bill he signed into law at a gun maker's factory in 2021,” Ms Watts tweeted.

Mr Lee signed legislation in 2021 that allowed for citizens to carry a loaded handgun either concealed or openly without a permit, but not rifles or shotguns. The suspect in the Nashville school shooting, identified as a 28-year-old named Audrey Hale, was carrying two assault-style rifles and a handgun, according to police.

Ms Watts criticised lax gun rules.

“SCHOOL SHOOTINGS ARE NOT ACTS OF NATURE,” she tweeted. “They are senseless, preventable acts of man enabled by weak gun laws and lawmakers. This doesn't have to be our new normal. Our children don't have to be sacrificed in exchange for gun industry profits. We can stop this.”

The shooter killed three children, according to Vanderbilt University Medical Center-Monroe Carell Jr. Hospital, News Channel 9 reported. In addition, the shooter also killed three adults.

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms also said it would assist the MNPD after the shooting.

The Covenant School is located next to Nashville’s Covenant Presbyterian Church and has 33 teachers and 200 students, The Associated Press reports.

The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation said that “there is no current threat to public safety.”

“The shooter was engaged by MNPD and is dead,” MNPD said in a statement.