The bloodshed in Alabama marked the third high-profile mass shooting in as many weeks in the U.S. South, following separate outbreaks of deadly gun violence in Tennessee and Kentucky that prompted local leaders to call for tighter gun control measures.
Dadeville itself was shaken by at least one prior mass shooting in August of 2016, when a gunman wounded five people during a party at an American Legion hall, according to the Montgomery Advertiser.
“What has our nation come to when children cannot attend a birthday party without fear?” President Joe Biden said in a statement on Sunday.
Biden called the rising gun violence in the U.S. “outrageous and unacceptable,” and urged the U.S. Congress to pass laws to make firearms manufacturers more liable for gun violence, ban assault weapons and high-capacity ammunition magazines, and require safe storage of firearms and background checks for gun sales.
Tallapoosa County Schools Superintendent Raymond Porter said counseling would be provided at area schools on Monday, and asked local clergy to help families through the situation.
“We will make every effort to comfort those children and don’t lose sight of the fact that those are the ones most impacted by this situation,” Porter said.
Meanwhile, Republicans vying for their party’s 2024 presidential nomination and other prominent party members sought to cast themselves as unwaveringly supportive of gun rights without restrictions in Indiana over the weekend at the annual conference of the National Rifle Association (NRA), the country’s largest gun lobby.
The killings in Dadeville came five days after a bank employee shot dead five colleagues and wounded nine other people at his workplace in Louisville, Kentucky. On March 27, three 9 year olds and three staff members were killed at a private Christian school in Nashville, Tennessee, by a former student.
Mass shootings have become commonplace in the U.S., with more than 163 so far in 2023, the most at this point in the year since at least 2016, according to the Gun Violence Archive. The nonprofit group defines a mass shooting as any in which four or more people are wounded or killed, not including the shooter.