State Watch

Nashville mayor says ‘cult of the gun’ should not be celebrated

Nashville Mayor John Cooper speaks at Fisk Jubilee Singers 150 Year Celebration at Ryman Auditorium on November 11, 2021 in Nashville, Tennessee. (Photo by Leah Puttkammer/Getty Images)

Nashville Mayor John Cooper (D) said on Tuesday that the “cult of the gun” should not be celebrated, after a shooting left three children and three staff members dead at a local elementary school.

“Guns lead to tragedies,” Cooper told the TODAY Show. “Whatever your political feelings are, we should not be celebrating the cult of the gun.”

A former student of The Covenant School, a private Christian school in Nashville, Tenn., shot and killed six people on Monday before being killed by police. The shooter, 28-year-old Audrey Elizabeth Hale, was armed with two assault-style weapons and a handgun.

“The country needs to pick itself up and say no to an assault weapons lobby that again is making it too available and too convenient and too first of mind for people to go out and commit terrible acts,” Cooper added.

The mayor’s comments came in response to a 2021 Christmas message from Rep. Andy Ogles (R-Tenn.), which featured a photo of the congressman and his family holding guns in front of a Christmas tree.

“The very atmosphere of firearms anywhere and everywhere restrains evil interference – they deserve a place of honor with all that’s good,” Ogles said in the Christmas message posted to Facebook.

The photo of Ogles, who represents part of Nashville, has been circulating online in the wake of the shooting.

“I think the whole country can look at it and shudder a little bit, and realize how inappropriate it is,” Cooper said.

Ogles said on Monday that he and his family were “devastated by the tragedy” at The Covenant School and were “sending our thoughts and prayers to the families of those lost.”

“As a father of three, I am utterly heartbroken by this senseless act of violence,” he wrote in a statement.

Tags Andy Ogles Andy Ogles Gun control gun violence John Cooper Nashville Nashville School Shooting

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