NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — On Saturday, crowds gathered in downtown Nashville in anticipation of former President Donald Trump sharing remarks at a GOP donor summit.
The Republican National Convention (RNC) told News 2 the event was closed to the press, but those gathered around security on 2nd Avenue shared the issues they feel will be most pressing for the GOP to address in the upcoming 2024 election.
“I’m conservative, I’m a Christian, so, I mean, I want to stick to those values, but I also know there’s discussion to be had and compromise,” said Mary, a longtime Nashville resident.
Locally, the deadly Covenant School shooting had some calling for some kind of reform amid a mounting list of mass shootings across the country.
“I believe you should be able to support yourself and your family, but I don’t know if we’re too lenient on the amount of rifles that people can acquire and background checks,” Mary added.
“Certain people don’t need guns, some people don’t need knives, and that’s okay and that should be taken care of. It’s going to be hard to do,” said Orlando Bartholomew, another longtime Nashville resident.
For one mother visiting from Kentucky, gun violence hit too close to home last week with the deadly shooting at a Louisville bank.
“My children, you know, I’m very, very protective of them. I’m a single mom,” she said. “I’m scared every day. I do send them with phones so I can see the location if something was to happen.”
Several voters told News 2 they hope the GOP can strike a balance between safety and respecting Second Amendment rights.
“I feel like our schools should be better equipped with things now, as sadly as it is, it’s just the reality of the world we live in,” the mother added.
In addition to gun violence, those gathered downtown on Saturday, April 15 said some of the biggest issues Republicans need to address are the economy and coming together to unify as a party.
“Just be calm heads. I don’t know, the yelling and screaming and the violence is rather frightening, and you see more and more of that,” Mary said.
“My message to them would be keep Trump in office forever, you know what I’m saying? But keep him under control,” said Bartholomew. “No, I’m just kidding, but everybody should really just stick together with this, come together, work as a team.”
Gov. Bill Lee’s staffers confirmed Saturday that he did attend the event the night before.