Nashville Mayor John Cooper on Tuesday said Americans “should not be celebrating the cult of the gun” after six people were killed at a school shooting in his Tennessee city.
Gun control advocates and other social media users highlighted a 2021 Christmas photo featuring GOP Rep. Andy Ogles, whose district includes The Covenant School targeted in Monday’s mass shooting. In the image, Ogles and his family, including children, pose with what appear to be large firearms.
Asked if he received Ogles’ card, Cooper replied: “I’m not on his Christmas card list and I don’t think it’s appropriate.”
“Guns lead to tragedies and whatever your political feelings are, we should not be celebrating the cult of the gun,” added the mayor, a Democrat.
President Joe Biden called on Congress to pass an assault weapons ban and other gun restrictions following Monday’s killings.
“We have to do more to stop gun violence. It’s ripping our communities apart,” Biden said from the White House.
A ban is unlikely to pass in Washington, with pro-gun Republicans controlling the House and even some Democrats opposing restrictions.
NBC’s Hoda Kotb asked Cooper what states could do to prevent gun violence, pointing to the example of Connecticut. In the aftermath of the Sandy Hook school shooting in 2012, Connecticut expanded its assault weapons ban and enacted universal background checks for gun buyers.
Connecticut had the sixth-lowest gun death rate among U.S. states in 2020, according to the Giffords Law Center.
However, Cooper appeared downbeat about Tennessee.
“I think it would be very challenging for Tennessee, but I think it needs to be brought up,” Cooper said. “Commonsense reforms, which are not really onerous on gun ownership, does make a big difference.”