Hundreds rally in Tennessee to demand stricter gun laws

Friday, Mar 31, 2023

NASHVILLE: Hundreds of people rallied at the Tennessee State Capitol in Nashville to demand stricter gun regulations on Thursday, in the wake of the latest US school shooting that left six people dead in the city this week.

School shootings are strikingly common in the United States, as are calls in the aftermath for action on gun control, a hot-button political issue in the country. The crowd of demonstrators swarmed up the steep steps of the capitol building -- its flag at half mast for the victims of the shooting -- in central Nashville.

“Protect our children, not guns,” read signs held up by protesters who also flooded the marble rotunda, according to images published by local media. The crowd sang “power to the people” and chanted slogans demanding immediate action on gun control.

The protest was peaceful, with some parents bringing their children -- but some demonstrators shouted and jostled in around lawmakers as Tennessee Highway Patrol members cleared paths for them to enter the House chamber, The Tennessean reported.

Members of the public in the chamber gallery and some Democratic lawmakers called for gun control to be discussed in the session, according to the report. “We´re here because we still believe that we can make change. We can. It´s a tough state, I get it,” said organizer Maryam Abolfazli, cited by local station WKRN. Republican-led Tennessee has in recent years loosened gun laws. In 2021, Governor Bill Lee championed a law passed that year allowing anyone aged 21 and up to carry a firearm, both openly and concealed, without a permit.