Lawmakers React To Connecticut School Shooting - NewsChannel5.com | Nashville News, Weather & Sports

Lawmakers React To Connecticut School Shooting

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NASHVILLE, Tenn. – In the aftermath of the devastating killings at a Connecticut elementary school, Republicans and Democrats alike said Friday was not the time for a policy debate on gun control, but a time to mourn.

Officials said 20 children ages 5 to 10 were killed in a shooting rampage at a school in Newton, Connecticut. Shooter Adam Lanza's mother worked at Sandy Hook Elementary. It was believed he targeted her classroom.

Seven adults were also killed at the school, including the shooter who officials said took his own life. Another adult was also found dead at Lanza's residence, but investigators did not release the victim's identity.

In a special new briefing, President Barack Obama said he was grieving for the victims. His remarks to the nation from the White House were emotional ones, as Obama wiped his eyes and had to pause for several seconds to keep his composure.

"Our hearts are broken today," he said.

Obama said the victims were "beautiful, little kids" who "had their entire lives ahead of them" -- and he recited future milestones lost: "birthdays, graduations, weddings, kids of their own."

The president called for "meaningful action" to prevent such shootings, but did not say what that action should be. He ordered U.S. flags be flown at half-staff through Tuesday.

Governor Bill Haslam ordered flags over the Tennessee State Capitol be lowered to half-staff after President Barack Obama issued the order.

Congressman Marsha Blackburn, who represents Tennessee's 7th District, was at the NewsChannel5+ studio Friday for a taping of Inside Politics when news of the shooting came out.

Blackburn said she could not believe the headlines when news broke. She said now was the time for consoling and hoping places like schools – once thought as a safe haven – will one day be that way again.

"It just makes your heart break. There's nothing else you can say, other than it is just devastating. It makes you think about your own children and grandchildren. Their safety and wanting to make certain that these places that should be safe places are indeed safe places. It is heartbreaking," said Blackburn.

U.S. Senator Lamar Alexander released a statement saying, "I am stunned by this tragedy and my prayers are for the families who have suffered this loss."

Congressman Diane Black also said her thoughts and prayers were with the victims and their families.

It's really the same story no what who you talk to, or what side of isle they're on. The shooting was a national tragedy - and they say right now it's time to mourn.

State Representative Sherry Jones said it was not the time to talk about gun control, but when you consider the number of recent shootings tied to people suffering from a mental disorder, she said something has to be done.

"I don't care if people want to hunt. I'm fine with that. I don't care if you have a gun to protect yourself at home. I'm fine with that – but we shouldn't take a chance on people that have these sort of mental health issues being able to get a hold of weapons. We need to do a better job with that," said Jones.

Several lawmakers issued statements of support to victims and their families. Read their statements here.

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