In the wake of the Nashville school shooting that killed six, Rep. Andy Ogles (R-TN) expressed no remorse for a Christmas photo showing his family posing with assault-style rifles.
Ogles was asked by a reporter Tuesday if he regretted posting the original photo, which was roundly criticized by anti-gun violence groups as “celebrating” guns.
“Why would I regret a photograph with my family exercising my rights to bear arms?” he answered.
Ogles has, however, removed the photo from his social media since Monday’s shooting that killed three children and three adults at a private Christian elementary school in Nashville. The shooter was shot and killed by police.
The congressman said mass shootings in America are the result of mental health issues, not lax gun laws.
“I think ultimately what this does is highlight some mental health issues, the mental health crisis we have in this country,” he said. “That needs to be the real conversation we’re having now. How did this individual slip through the cracks, what could have been done to get them help?”
Following the shooting, Ogles released the following statement saying he was “heartbroken” over the incident:
My family and I are devastated by the tragedy that took place at The Covenant School in Nashville this morning. We are sending our thoughts and prayers to the families of those lost. As a father of three, I am utterly heartbroken over this senseless act of violence. I am closely monitoring the situation and working with local officials. Thank you to the brave first responders who have provided support throughout this tragedy.
On the House floor Monday, freshman representative Maxwell Frost (D-FL) said Republicans aren’t “giving a damn” when it comes to protecting children from guns.
Frost accused House Republicans of being “bought and paid for by the NRA” and putting “profits over people” before mentioning his bill to create a federal office of gun violence prevention.
There’s slim chance that Ogles will support any new gun control legislation. His website explains the congressman’s dedication to the Second Amendment right to bear arms:
The Second Amendment is abundantly clear that “the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.” I will fight tirelessly to ensure that your constitutional rights are protected and never infringed upon. Disarming the people is the most effective way to enslave them, and we must remain vigilant when anyone seeks to erode our civil liberties. The rights of the people to keep and bear arms, protect themselves and their families, and prevent tyrannical rule is a fundamental liberty of our constitutional republic.
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