Nashville Mayor David Briley is demanding “comprehensive gun reform” in the wake of a mass murder that left four people dead in a Nashville-area Waffle House early Sunday morning. Calling the type of rifle used in the shooting a “weapon of war,” he claims that the purpose of AR-15s is to “terrorize.”
“Let’s be honest about what happened. The citizens of Nashville were terrorized last night by a man with an AR15. That is the purpose of these weapons,” Briley said in a Facebook post. “If we all come together on this for the greater good, we can take weapons of war off the street.”
Briley’s response contrasts with the man who actually stopped the murderer.
“I figured if I was going to die, he was going to have to work for it,” James Shaw, Jr., told reporters Sunday.
Nashville police said that Shaw waited for the murderer to reload, then rushed the man and wrestled the rifle away from him. After Shaw threw the firearm over the counter, the suspect fled the scene.
Rather than calling for gun control reform, Shaw has used his newfound notoriety to start a GoFundMe page for the families of the four victims. The page has raised nearly $25,000 as of Monday morning, and Shaw told CNN that he would love to speak with the families and “know that you’re OK.”
“There’s four families that are grieving right now,” he said. “So much life was lost for no reason. I feel like it could be very selfish of me if I didn’t point it out. And I apologize.”
Shaw wants people to know that he doesn’t believe he’s a hero.
“I don’t want people to think that I was the Terminator or Superman or anybody like that,” he told reporters, adding, “I did that completely out of a selfish act. I was completely doing it just to save myself.”
When it comes to gun control, Shaw shied away from supporting the kind of “comprehensive reform” Briley is demanding.
“I hope we can bring violence in all facets — not just gun violence, but all facets of violence — to an end,” he said.
The suspect, Travis J. Reinking, reportedly entered the Waffle House wearing nothing but a green jacket and carrying an AR-15. Authorities now believe he is the same man who was arrested near the White House last July when he crossed a security barrier in pursuit of a meeting with President Trump.
The FBI asked local police to seize Reinking’s firearms after that incident, and they were given to his father.
“He was allowed to do that after he assured deputies that he would keep them secure and away from Travis,” Sheriff Robert M. Huston of Tazewell County said in a news conference on Sunday. “We have no information about how Travis came back into possession of those firearms.”
Reinking exhibited troubling behavior even before the shooting, expressing a belief that Taylor Swift was stalking him and hacking his phone and Netflix account, according to the New York Times.
Even though laws already exist that bar the mentally ill from owning firearms, and despite the fact that Reinking has been barred from possessing his firearms, Nashville Mayor David Briley still believes more gun control will stop future mass murders.
“Tragedies like today should not happen,” he said. “This is our second mass shooting in seven months. We need comprehensive gun reform to address mass shootings, domestic shootings, accidental shootings, and homicides.”