Seconds after law enforcement officials gave an update about the school shooting in Nashville on Monday, a woman jumped in front of a gaggle of reporters. They kept their cameras rolling and their mics on Ashbey Beasley, who said she is a mother and mass shooting survivor, angered by what took place that day.
“Aren’t you guys tired of covering this? Aren’t you guys tired of being here and having to cover all of these mass shootings?” she said. “I’m from Highland Park, Illinois. My son and I survived a mass shooting over the summer.”
Beasley said she was in Tennessee visiting family when the shooting occurred. A 28-year-old former student of The Covenant School in Nashville’s Green Hills neighborhood opened fire at the school, killing three 9-year-old children and three adults.
Beasley told reporters she has been lobbying for gun reform after she and her son survived a mass shooting at a Fourth of July parade in Illinois, during which killed seven were killed and dozens were injured.
“I have met with over 130 lawmakers,” Beasley said. “How is this still happening? How are our children still dying and why are we failing them?”
Her on-camera plea in front of reporters and the small crowd that had gathered for a police news conference after Monday’s shooting has gone viral online.
Gun violence is the leading cause of death among kids and teens, Beasley said. According to a 2022 study published in the New England Journal of Medicine, firearms surpassed car accidents as the leading cause of death for people aged 1 to 19 in the U.S. The rate of children and teen deaths from guns increased 29.5% between 2019 to 2020 – more than double the rate increase for the general population.
“These shootings and these mass shootings will continue to happen until our lawmakers step up and pass gun safety legislation,” Beasley said. She urged those watching to call their lawmakers and ask them to “make change now.”
Police said the Nashville shooter had at least two assault weapons and a handgun and they believe two were obtained legally and locally.
The preliminary investigation shows the shooter targeted the school, Nashville Police Chief John Drake said. “We strongly believe there was going to be some other targets, including maybe family members, and one of the malls here in Nashville,” Drake said. “And that just did not happen.”
President Joe Biden remarked on the Nashville shooting while speaking at the SBA Women’s Business Summit on Monday. “So many members of the military [are] coming back with post-traumatic stress after witnessing the violence and participating in it. Well, these children, these teachers, we should be focusing on their mental health as well.”
Earlier this month, Biden introduced an executive order that would help extend and enforce a bipartisan gun reform bill signed into law last year.
Under the executive order, the attorney general was directed to increase background checks, as well as release information about firearms dealers and those who violate the law and it directed public agencies to promote so-called “red-flag” laws, which allow the temporary removal of guns from people who may be dangerous.