Gun violence is the No. 1 killer of children; here are common-sense steps to address it (The Tennessean)

THE TENNESSEAN | The perfect storm of easy access to firearms combined with a pandemic-fueled mental health crisis has brought us to a boiling point.

On March 31, 9-year-old Evelyn Dieckhaus was scheduled to sing Louis Armstrong’s classic song “What A Wonderful World” at a play at Nashville’s Covenant School. Instead, country music artist Vince Gill stood in the sanctuary of Woodmont Christian Church and sang it at her funeral, just four days after the mass school shooting that devastated our hometown. 

We are a former U.S. Senate Majority Leader representing the State of Tennessee, a Nashville-based orthopaedic trauma surgeon who has treated far too many gunshot victims, and the pastor who officiated over Evelyn’s funeral. And we are begging – on behalf of those weeping in our nation’s pews and hospitals and on the steps of our corridors of power – for an end to America’s epidemic of firearms-driven death.   

We were heartened by recent news that Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee signed an executive order strengthening background checks and called on the state legislature to do more. But we, as a state and a nation, need to do more.

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