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“We just got louder:” Gun control advocates, opponents talk protest at Tennessee’s capitol

From NewsChannel 9: Thousands of adults and children gathered on the steps of Tennessee’s state capitol Thursday demanding change following The Covenant School shooting.


Now, we’re hearing from people who were there and the lawmakers who say their hands are tied.


“It wasn’t the kind of an experience where anyone who was going to be violent, but we were definitely gonna let our voices be heard and we were loud,” says Carol Buckley Frazier.

Carol Buckley Frazier, volunteer with Moms Demand Action, is a mom of three and one of thousands who showed up to the Tennessee state capitol Thursday.


They were protesting for gun reform following a school shooting in Nashville this week.

But some republican lawmakers say their ears were shut.


Rep. Jeremy Faison says, “You’re not being heard. You’re just creating pink noise that is getting drowned out. I don’t think any legislature hears, regardless if you’re on the right or the left. If you’re going to stand and act a fool, you’re not going to be heard.”

And Frazier says lawmakers are not willing to have a real conversation.


“These legislators want to argue at all about the Second Amendment. But they don’t want to talk a lot about how we are going to keep our kids safe if that doesn’t involve a gun,” says Frazier.

Reporters asked Lt. Gov. Randy McNally what he thinks is the answer to end school shootings.


“One is school security and the other is individual mental health,” says McNally.

Tennessee Representative Yusuf Hakeem says more guns are not the answer.


“I don’t feel it’s in the best interest of our children or adults to have additional guns in our schools,” says Hakeem.

Rep. Hakeem describes the moments when protesters interrupted the legislature…


“Business was stopped, I think for about 45 minutes,” says Hakeem.

He adds that the atmosphere was ‘tense.’


“The shooting that took place, the loss of lives added to that. And it’s sort of spilled over today on the floor,” says Hakeem. “Kids are going to school wondering if they’re going to be next.”

Frazier also described the scene to us.


“The legislators had to cross over across the rotunda to get to the chamber. And it was interesting, because they walked right in the middle of us,” says Frazier. “There were guards there, police there to kind of open a pathway. And we sure let them know what we were there for. And then the door was closed once everybody went through, and we just got louder.”

Hakeem says he doesn’t think protests like this one are going to end any time soon.


” I don’t believe that this mindset or this passion, this interest in saving our children is going to diminish. I’m of the belief that it’s going to increase in the state of Tennessee,” says Hakeem.

Calls for gun safety comes as various gun laws are moving through the Tennessee General Assembly.


Just this week, a federal judge quietly allowed the minimum age for carrying a handgun without a permit to drop from 21 to 18.