VIDEO: Nashville Mayor John Cooper, Former U.S. Congresswoman Val Demings, Everytown, Moms Demand Action and Students Demand Action Call on Tennessee Lawmakers to Pass Extreme Risk Law to Prevent Future School Shootings
Tennessee Gov. Lee and Lt. Gov Have Said They Would Support a Policy to Keep Guns out of the Hands of Those in Crisis
Recording of Press Call is Available HERE.
NEW YORK – Today Everytown for Gun Safety and Moms Demand Action held a virtual press conference with John Feinblatt, president of Everytown for Gun Safety, Nashville Mayor John Cooper, Former U.S. Congresswoman and Orlando Chief of Police Val Demings, Angela Ferrell-Zabala, senior vice president for movement building with Everytown, Moms Demand Action and Students Demand Action leaders, Sari Kaufman, who survived the mass school shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, and Zack Maaieh, a student at Vanderbilt University in Nashville to call for action on gun safety. Advocates urged Tennessee lawmakers to pass a law to keep guns out of the hands of people in crisis, like an Extreme Risk law, following the shooting at The Covenant School in Nashville Tennessee where three 9-year-olds and three adults were shot and killed.
“When three nine-year-olds are killed, lawmakers shouldn’t be arguing about decorum — they should be asking themselves how to stop history from repeating itself,” said John Feinblatt, president of Everytown for Gun Safety. “If Tennessee had an Extreme Risk law, family members and friends could have turned their fears into action, which might have saved six lives.”
“An entire generation of students have been traumatized by lockdown drills, school shootings and gun violence in their communities,” said Angela Ferrell-Zabala, senior vice president of movement building for Everytown for Gun Safety “We’re putting our grassroots muscle into making a life-saving Extreme Risk law a reality here in Tennessee. Now is the time for lawmakers to act with courage and address the public health crisis of gun violence head on.”
“We have some of the weakest gun laws in Tennessee — the answer to solving the gun violence epidemic is not more guns,” said Nashville Mayor John Cooper, a member of Mayors Against Illegal Guns.“Nashville’s heart is shattered from last week’s horrific tragedy, but we can honor the precious lives stolen from us by turning our grief into action. Our most important job as elected leaders is to keep our communities safe, and I support the legislature moving forward with an Extreme Risk Law.”
“When we are responding to an active shooter, we are often too late — gun violence shows no mercy,” said Val Demings, former U.S. Congresswoman and Orlando Chief of Police. “I have seen firsthand how gun violence has ripped communities apart in Florida — Tennessee lawmakers have a responsibility to put politics aside and meet this tragedy with proactive gun safety measures.”
“To our lawmakers, young people are committed to making Tennessee safe for all of us, and we are ready to work with you to pass lifesaving legislation,” said Zack Maaieh, a student at Vanderbilt University and volunteer with Students Demand Action. “We’ll keep testifying, marching, and voting until you hear our calls. We’ll keep fighting like hell, because for us, this is life or death.”
“We are tired of living in fear for our safety in our schools and communities,” said Sari Kaufman, a Students Demand Action leader who survived the mass school shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. “We cannot wait around for the next tragedy, the next Stoneman Douglas, or the next Covenant School — lawmakers must take action now to prevent gun violence in our communities.”
Reports show that the shooter had exhibited warning signs for dangerous behavior and was known to own firearms. Since the shooting, Tennessee Governor Bill Lee and Lieutenant Governor Randy McNally, both Republicans, indicated support for gun safety measures, including those that would keep guns out of the hands of people in crisis who pose a risk to themselves or other, like an Extreme Risk law which could have temporarily removed the Nashville shooter’s access to guns and prevented the shooting.
Protests and grassroots calls for gun safety continue as thousands of students walked out of school in Tennessee, Florida, North Carolina, South Carolina, Colorado, California, New York, and Texas — among many other states on Monday, and over 300 Students Demand Action walkouts are planned across the country today. So far this year, there have been at least 39 incidents of gunfire on school grounds, resulting in 17 deaths and 30 injuries nationally. But mass shootings and school shootings represent only a fraction of the gun violence that impacts young Americans every single day in their homes, neighborhoods, and so many other places that should be safe. The impacts of this crisis are shaping an entire generation of Americans.
Even as young people continue to be disproportionately impacted by gun violence, they are also leading the fight to end it. Gun violence is the number one killer of children, teens, and college-aged youth in America — but young people all around the country are fighting back and standing on the frontlines of the gun safety movement.