Nashville shooting reignites talk about gun reform in U.S.


Photo used with permission from Google Commons

In response to the Nashville shooting, March for Our Lives protests took place around the country including Derwood, MD.

The school shooting on Mar. 27 at the Covenant School in Nashville, TN, marks the 19th school shooting of 2023 that left at least one person wounded.

When police arrived at the scene they shot and killed the shooter, Aiden Hale, at 10:27 a.m., 14 minutes after the shooter entered the school, but help couldn’t arrive fast enough and six staff and students were killed. The victims identified were third graders Evelyn Dieckhaus, William Kinney, and Hallie Scruggs, who were only nine years old. The three adults killed were Cynthia Peak, a substitute teacher, 61; Mike Hill, a custodian, 61, and Katherine Koonce, the head of the school, 60.

Aiden Hale,a 28-year old transgender male who previously went by Audrey E. Hale was believed to be a former student of the private Christian academy. The suspect has been seen on surveillance footage shooting through the school’s side entrance then making their way through the school firing shots at classrooms.

Despite the 911 calls from staff around the school and only eight minutes that passed before law enforcement arrived at the scene, this became the deadliest US school shooting since the Uvalde, TX, shooting 10 months ago. There have been 74 people injured or killed just this year from gun-related incidents in 2023. “We have to be proactive to keep our kids safe in the school,” security team leader Chris Pucciarelli said.

Despite the rallying of hundreds of protesters who stood outside the Tennessee State Capitol, no new legislation has been passed to restrict the gun laws in Tennessee, though Governor Bill Lee has proposed legislation to help amp up the protection at public schools across the state. Even without new laws restricting the selling and carrying of guns in Montgomery County Public Schools, there have been trainings with the Montgomery County Police Department to prepare officers for situations like the Nashville shooting with active shooters. To ensure students safety procedures such as lockdowns, shelter-in-place, and evacuations are practiced throughout the year. Time and time again, there are shootings around the country yet, “We continue to have a crisis in our community and country-at-large regarding gun violence, and, yet, very little changes,” Principal Douglas Nelson said.

Groups and foundations such as Voices for a Safer Tennessee and The Community Fund of Middle Tennessee have worked to raise money to support the victim’s families and advocate for reform with Tennessee’s gun laws. Despite no legislation that would limit buying and selling of guns, schools are trying to prevent these violent actions that keep arising across the country by reminding students, staff, and community members to, “tell someone before it is too late,” Pucciarelli said.

A month has passed since the shooting and Nashville has been mourning the loss of the children and staff killed through memorials and funerals. On Mar. 29, a memorial vigil was held where hundreds of people came to commemorate and pray with the victims’ families. Notable musicians including Ketch Secor, Margo Price and Sheryl Crow performed music throughout the 30-minute vigil, which saw first lady Jill Biden in attendance. Even though communities across the country have faced hardships like Nashville, “this shooting was extremely sad because it was in an elementary school,” sophomore Kailey Waxman said.