Why Tenn. Republican Tim Burchett says Congress would only 'mess things up' after school shooting

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WASHINGTON – Rep. Tim Burchett, a Tennessee Republican, described the school shooting in his home state as "a horrible, horrible situation," but it's not something he thinks Congress needs to address.

"We're not gonna fix it," he told reporters Tuesday. "Criminals are gonna be criminals."

Burchett said Congress doesn't have a real role to play in the aftermath of the Christian school shooting in Nashville, where an attacker killed three 9-year-old students and three staff members. Lawmakers would only "mess things up," he said.

Dig deeper: 'We're not gonna fix it': Why lawmakers see no chance of major gun law changes after Nashville

U.S. Rep. Tim Burchett (R-TN) responded to the Nashville school shooting in his home state by saying Congress couldn't fix the problem. In this file photo, he participates in a meeting of the House Oversight and Reform Committee in the Rayburn House Office Building on January 31, 2023 in Washington, DC.
U.S. Rep. Tim Burchett (R-TN) responded to the Nashville school shooting in his home state by saying Congress couldn't fix the problem. In this file photo, he participates in a meeting of the House Oversight and Reform Committee in the Rayburn House Office Building on January 31, 2023 in Washington, DC.

How do you stop gun violence?

"I don't think you're gonna stop the gun violence," Burchett said. "I think you gotta change people's hearts."

When someone is determined to kill, there's not much that can stop them, he said.

His father, who fought in World War II, told him, "if somebody wants to take you out and doesn't mind losing their life, there's not a whole heck of a lot you can do about it," Burchett said.

More: Andy Ogles, GOP congressman representing Nashville shooting site, criticized for posing with guns in family Christmas photo

How do you protect children from gun violence?

Burchett has a daughter. When he was asked what should be done to keep kids safe from school shootings, his answer was succinct: homeschool.

But he did acknowledge "some people don't have that option."

More: Bodycam footage shows police confronting Nashville shooter; attacker had bought 7 guns: Updates

Candy Woodall is a Congress reporter for USA TODAY. She can be reached at cwoodall@usatoday.com or on Twitter at @candynotcandace.

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Why Tenn. Republican says Congress shouldn't act after school shooting