Is there any hope to stop gun violence?

Is the U.S. doomed to having the same debate after every mass shooting?

guns and american flag
(Image credit: Getty Images / Westend61)

President Biden responded to this week's school shooting at The Covenant School in Nashville, which left three 9-year-olds and three adults dead, by saying he had done everything in his power to tackle gun violence. "I have gone the full extent of my executive authority to do, on my own, anything about guns," Biden said. Biden has taken six executive actions, including funding community-based violence interventions, pushing accountability for gun makers, and stepping up use of "red flag" laws. Now, Biden said, it's up to Congress to act, and a good place to start is banning the kind of semi-automatic assault-style guns that are the weapons of choice for killers in the nation's worst mass shootings, including the one in Tennessee. "The last time we passed an assault weapons ban, violent shootings went down," Biden said.

Mourners gathered for a candlelight vigil to honor the victims: Evelyn Dieckhaus, 9; Hallie Scruggs, 9; William Kinney, 9; Cynthia Peak, 61; Katherine Koonce, 60; and Mike Hill, 61. But debate instantly turned nasty in Washington. In the Capitol, Rep. Jamaal Bowman (D-N.Y.), told reporters in the hall outside the House chamber that Republicans are too "gutless" to "do anything to save the lives of our children." Rep. Thomas Massie (R-Ky.) was walking by, and when he realized Bowman was talking about gun violence, he said: "You know, there's never been a school shooting in a school that allows teachers to carry." Massie said. Republicans, in Washington and Tennessee, are willing to talk about addressing school shootings by putting more armed officers and teachers in the buildings, but not an assault weapon ban. Rep. Tim Burchett (R-Tenn.) said there is really nothing lawmakers can do to stop gun violence. "We're not gonna fix it," Burchett said. "Criminals are going to be criminals."

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