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Rep. Elissa Slotkin, D-Mich., and Sen. Edward Markey, D-Mass., call for gun control outside the Capitol on March 29, 2023.
Rep. Elissa Slotkin, D-Mich., and Sen. Edward Markey, D-Mass., call for gun control outside the Capitol on Wednesday.Nathan Howard / Getty Images

'A book never shot anyone': Slotkin slams GOP amid school shootings

The Michigan Democrat accused Republicans of focusing on culture war issues in schools over safety.

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Michigan Democratic Rep. Elissa Slotkin spoke to NBC News Wednesday about her push for new gun safety legislation, criticizing Republicans for focusing on culture war issues instead and arguing that "the tide will turn" on holdouts.

"I challenge any of my fellow lawmakers who are rejecting having this conversation to actually sit down with young people who have been in this situation," Slotkin said in an interview alongside two students who survived school shootings that took place in Slotkin's districts.

The interview comes as Slotkin introduces legislation aimed at tightening firearm transfers. One bill that bans the transfer of a gun to someone convicted of a misdemeanor in the last three years. in which a firearm was present, while the other requires a one-week waiting period before someone can receive a firearm.

The Democrat, who is running for Senate, admitted that "there will be a segment of the population that will never want any new legislation just like there was when we instituted seatbelts and car seats." But she said that she believes the country will reach a point “where so many Americans have had personal experience with gun violence, that it’s going to change the tide of this conversation.”

And she went on to accuse Republicans of focusing on culture war issues over school safety — House Republicans just passed their "Parents Bill of Rights" measure that would provide more transparency on school curricula amid some GOP calls for more limits on student exposure to topics on sexual orientation, gender identity and others.

"A book never shot anyone in the face. And they have lost the plot,” Slotkin said. “They are focusing on issues that are dog whistle cultural issues, to drum up political enthusiasm instead of focusing on protecting our children and history will not reflect well on them and their party right now.”

A shooter killed six people, including three children, at a private Christian school in Nashville earlier this week. While many Democrats have pointed to the tragedy to re-up calls for new gun legislation, including a ban on certain semi-automatic weapons, there does not appear to be much Republican appetite for new gun laws