Rep. Tim Burchett, R-Tenn., said the school shooting in Nashville was "horrendous," but he does not think there's a role for Congress to play, and he resents that the tragedy has been politicized.
Speaking briefly with reporters on Tuesday, Burchett, who represents the Knoxville area but says he lived in Nashville before, said Monday's shooting was a "horrible situation," and added that lawmakers in Washington, D.C., are "not going to fix it." He criticized those on the right and left who are politicizing the tragedy over the shooter's gender identity or guns, respectively.
"Criminals are going to be criminals," Burchett said, recalling how his father, a World War II veteran, once told him that "if somebody wants to take you out and doesn't mind losing their life, there's not a whole heck of a lot you can do about it."
"And we've got a mental health issue in this country," he continued. "We need to start addressing it."
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On Monday, six people were killed at a private Christian school in Nashville when an emotionally disturbed 28-year-old female who identified as a transgender male went on a shooting rampage with two rifles and a handgun, police said.
Three children and three adults were killed in the shooting. Their names were: Evelyn Dieckhaus, 9, Hallie Scruggs, 9, William Kinney, 9, Cynthia Peak, 61, Katherine Koonce, 60, and Mike Hill, 61.
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The shooter was neutralized by responding police officers with the Metropolitan Nashville Police Department. The officers names were Michael Collazo, 31, and Rex Engelbert, 27.
Asked how Congress should respond to the tragedy, Burchett said that lawmakers would only "mess things up."
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"I don't think you're going to stop the gun violence," the representative said, observing that guns can be 3d-printed now and that criminals will find a way to do violence.
Instead of attempting a legislative solution, Burchett, a Christian, said, "I think we really need to revive up in this country. I think our ministers and our communities of faith need to come together and start preaching about love from the Bible."
Burchett has a daughter. Asked what should be done to protect people like his child at schools, he told reporters that his family's solution was to homeschool.
"That's our decision. Some people don't have that option," he acknowledged. "And frankly, some people don't need to do it. I mean, they don't have to. It just suited our needs much better."