Rep. Andy Ogles (R-Tenn.), a gun rights proponent who represents the Nashville district that includes the school where six people were shot dead on Monday, has offered “thoughts and prayers” to the victims’ families.
“My family and I are devastated by the tragedy that took place at The Covenant School in Nashville this morning,” Ogles’ statement said. “We are 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. I am closely monitoring the situation and working with local officials.”
The freshman congressman attracted swift backlash from Democrats, gun control advocates and other social media users, who highlighted a gun-glorifying Christmas photo he posted on Facebook in 2021. In the image, Ogles and his family, including children, pose with large firearms.
Those who spoke out included: Fred Guttenberg, who became a prominent gun control advocate after his daughter Jaime was killed in the 2018 Parkland school shooting; Shannon Watts, founder of gun violence prevention group Moms Demand Action; Rep. Veronica Escobar (D-Texas); and Rep. Greg Landsman (D-Ohio).
“How much more bloodshed will it take?” Escobar tweeted. “It’s. The. Guns.”
Landsman said he had spoken with Ogles just last week about their kids.
“If someone like Andy would say, ‘hey, we don’t need these kinds of weapons,’ we could make some real change,” Landsman wrote. “I’ll ask him this week.”
Ogles’ office did not immediately return a request for comment.
Ogles represents Tennessee’s 5th Congressional District, which includes The Covenant School. A 28-year-old killed three students ― all aged between 8 and 9 ― and three adults at the private Christian school on Monday, police said. The shooter, who authorities said was wielding a rifle, an assault rifle-style pistol and a handgun, died after being shot by police.
On Ogles’ campaign website, he said he would “fight tirelessly” to protect Second Amendment rights. It states: “Disarming the people is the most effective way to enslave them, and we must remain vigilant when anyone seeks to erode our civil liberties.”
Formerly the mayor of Maury County, Tennessee, Ogles touts on his House bio that he was recognized as “Tennessee’s most conservative mayor.”
In February, Ogles was exposed for embellishing many elements of his résumé, including the degree he studied and his work fighting international sex trafficking.