One Grieving Mother Hasn’t Given Up Hope for a Gun Control Compromise

The essence of Evelyn Dieckhaus is still there, captured in the pink Bible where she underlined the word “covenant” in silver ink, and in the beaming photos of her with her family.

It is there in her journal, recovered from the scene of the Covenant School mass shooting, where Evelyn, 9, had copied out by hand a New Testament verse about maintaining sympathy, tenderness and humility.

Her mother, Katy Dieckhaus, has since placed those pieces of her daughter’s memory into what she calls her “little Ev bag,” which she has carried with her as she take her first steps into the intractable debate over gun control in Tennessee.

“I just thought, ‘O.K., Ev, let’s go — let’s go try something,’” Ms. Dieckhaus said this week, holding back tears as she recalled her first meeting with lawmakers. “Let’s go try to help people work together. Let’s see what we can do.”

Ms. Dieckhaus and her husband, Mike, have rarely spoken publicly since their daughter and five others were killed at the Covenant School in Nashville on March 27, 2023. But they are now stepping forward at a moment when Tennessee remains deeply divided on whether to limit access to guns.

The younger of two daughters, Evelyn Dieckhaus loved the color pink, the chance to play softball on a team and crafting. At 9, she was already thinking of becoming an occupational therapist like her mom.Credit…Gabriel McCurdy for The New York Times

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