(The Hill) – Rep. Jamaal Bowman (D-N.Y.) and Rep. Thomas Massie (R-Ky.) got into a heated shouting match about gun control as lawmakers left House votes on Wednesday evening.
The exchange came in the wake of a shooter killing three nine-year-olds and three adults at a private Christian school in Nashville, Tenn. on Monday.
Bowman, a former middle school principal, left votes telling reporters with a booming voice to press Republican lawmakers about their unwillingness to pass firearm restrictions.
“They’re cowards! They’re all cowards! They won’t do anything to save the lives of our children at all. Cowards!” Bowman said. “Question them. Force them to respond to the question, ‘Why the hell don’t you do anything to save America’s children?’ And let them explain that all the way up until 2024.”
Massie, a co-chair of the Second Amendment Caucus, walked out of the House chamber and asked what Bowman was talking about.
“You know, there’s never been a school shooting in a school that allows teachers to carry,” Massie said.
“Carry guns?” Bowman exclaimed. “More guns lead to more dead!”
The exchange continued as other lawmakers walked past the members.
Bowman pressed Massie on whether he had ever worked in a school.
“You’re just screaming at me,” Massie said, walking away from Bowman – who followed him as Massie tried to make his point to reporters.
Bowman talked about his 20-year experience in schools. “I was in cafeterias protecting kids every day of my career,” Bowman said.
“We have guns here to protect us, and he doesn’t believe that kids should have somebody to protect them,” Massie said.
Massie said that next week he will reintroduce a bill to repeal the federal Gun-Free Schools Act.
Some Republican lawmakers, including Sen. Mike Rounds (R-S.D.) and Rep. Tim Burchett (R-Tenn.), implied this week that Congress has done as much as it can to address gun violence.
“There isn’t anybody here that, if they could find the right approach, wouldn’t try to do something because they feel that pain,” Sen. Mike Rounds (R-S.D.) said Wednesday on CNN. “And yet, when we start talking about bans or challenging on the Second Amendment, I think the things that have already been done have gone about as far as we’re going to with gun control.”
Rounds said Congress could re-allocate funding for states to help increase security at schools.
“Criminals are going to be criminals,” Burchett said.
Asked what role Congress can play, Burchett said he doesn’t see what lawmakers can do that wouldn’t “mess things up.”
“I don’t think you’re going to stop the gun violence. I think we’ve got to change people’s hearts,” he said.