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Senate chaplain implores lawmakers to "move beyond thoughts and prayers" after Nashville school shooting

Police chief on Nashville school shooting
Police chief on Nashville school shooting and latest on investigation 06:22

Washington — The chaplain of the Senate opened Tuesday's legislative session with a prayer for lawmakers "to move beyond thoughts and prayers" in the wake of the nation's latest deadly school shooting, in which three young children and three adults were shot and killed at a private school in Nashville, Tennessee.

"Eternal God, we stand in awe of you," Chaplain Barry Black prayed. "Lord, when babies die at a church school, it is time for us to move beyond thoughts and prayers. Remind our lawmakers of the words of the British statesman Edmund Burke: All that is necessary for evil to triumph is for good people to do nothing."

Black, who has been the Senate chaplain since 2003, called for senators to reject "the paralysis of analysis that waits for the miraculous," and asked God to "use them to battle the demonic forces that seek to engulf us." 

His plea comes as legislative efforts to enact more comprehensive gun control laws have stalled following last year's passage of a bill that enhanced some background checks and provided billions of dollars for mental health services and school security. President Biden on Monday again urged Congress to pass a ban on assault-style weapons, which is a nonstarter in the Republican-controlled House.

"I call on Congress again to pass my assault weapons ban," Mr. Biden said during a speech. "It's about time that we began to make some more progress."

The president echoed that sentiment in a separate speech Tuesday. 

"Those children should all be with us still," Mr. Biden said in North Carolina. "...As a nation, we owe these families more than our prayers. We owe them action."

The president said he keeps repeating himself on gun control to "put pressure" on those in Congress who need to act. 

The shooter, identified as 28-year-old Audrey Hale from Nashville, was armed with at least two assault-style weapons and a handgun, officials said. The assailant legally bought those guns and four other firearms from five stores before Monday's deadly attack, Nashville Police Chief John Drake said Tuesday.

Drake said earlier that the preliminary investigation into Monday's shooting at The Covenant School suggested the attack was targeted. Drake said investigators believer the shooter, who was shot and killed by police, was once a student at the school.

"What detectives have said so far is there's possibly some resentment for having to go to that school," he told "CBS Mornings."

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