Democratic Rep. Jamaal Bowman and GOP Rep. Thomas Massie got in a heated exchange over gun violence in the halls of Congress: 'Calm down? Children are dying!'
Democratic Rep. Jamaal Bowman and GOP Rep. Thomas Massie got in a heated exchange over gun violence.
Massie, who once shared a Christmas photo of his family toting guns, told Bowman to "calm down."
Bowman shot back: "Calm down? Children are dying! Nine-year-old children!"
Video captured a heated exchange between Democratic Rep. Jamaal Bowman and Republican Rep. Thomas Massie on Wednesday, two days after an attacker shot and killed six people, including three children, at a school in Nashville, Tennessee.
The Covenant School shooting on Monday reignited debates over gun violence in the halls of Congress. A video shared by Bowman, who represents New York's 16th district, showed him shouting "they're freaking gutless, they're cowards" before Massie, who was walking by, asked what he was talking about.
"I'm talking about gun violence," Bowman replied. Each lawmaker proceeded to talk over each other as they commented on open carry laws and allowing teachers to carry firearms.
At one point, Massie — who represents Kentucky's 4th district and once shared a Christmas photo of his family toting guns — told Bowman to "calm down."
The New York representative then shot back: "Calm down? Children are dying! Nine-year-old children!"
—Congressman Jamaal Bowman (@RepBowman) March 29, 2023
Bowman tweeted the video of the exchanged and wrote: "Republicans won't do SHIT when it comes to gun violence, but try to tell me to calm down. NO. We can't calm down. People are dying everyday while we wait."
A representative for Bowman did not immediately respond to Insider's request for comment.
"Rep. Bowman was challenging Republicans to a debate. Congressman Massie accepted the challenge," a representative for Massie told Insider, citing the arguments Massie made in the exchange. "When confronted with the facts, Mr. Bowman tried to shout Rep. Massie down."
Massie, wagging his finger at Bowman, told him that there hasn't been a school shooting in the schools that allow teachers to carry guns and asked if he would co-sponsor a bill.
"Carry guns?" Bowman screamed. "More guns lead to more death! Look at the data. You're not looking at any data. You're carrying the water for the gun lobby."
An analysis by the Giffords Law Center found nearly 100 publicly reported incidents of mishandled guns at schools, including a teacher unintentionally firing a gun in class during a safety demonstration in 2018.
Bowman, a former middle school principal, repeatedly asked Massie, "have you ever worked in a school?" He spent 20 years in public education and founded a middle school in the Bronx before being elected to Congress in 2020.
Massie, meanwhile, has consistently worked to expand gun rights and co-chairs the Congressional Second Amendment Caucus with far-right conservative Rep. Lauren Boebert of Colorado.
—Lisa Desjardins (@LisaDNews) March 29, 2023
After the exchange with Bowman, another video showed Massie's response to a question about whether there's a role for Congress to do anything on guns.
"Yeah, absolutely," he said. "Next week, I'm reintroducing a repeal of the federal Gun-Free School Zone Act. It's the deadliest bill that's ever been passed."
The photo Massie posted on Twitter in 2021 showed him with his family members, each holding a weapon and smiling, around a Christmas tree. "Merry Christmas!" he wrote. "ps. Santa, please bring ammo."
—Thomas Massie (@RepThomasMassie) December 4, 2021
He posted the photo days after a shooting at Oxford High School north of Detroit left four students dead and several others injured.
Republican Rep. Andy Ogles of Tennessee, who represents the district where the Nashville mass school shooting happened, posted a similar gun-filled family photo for Christmas in 2021.
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