Tennessee Governor Urges 'Public Safety' Special Session Amid Democratic Push for Gun Control

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Tennessee Governor Bill Lee has announced a special session to address public safety concerns, particularly related to gun control. The sess...

Alan Daniels

Alan Daniels

10 August 2023 11:39 am

Tennessee Governor Urges 'Public Safety' Special Session Amid Democratic Push for Gun Control

Tennessee Governor Announces Special Session to Address Public Safety Concerns

Tennessee Governor Bill Lee has announced a special session to address public safety concerns, particularly related to gun control. The session comes in response to a recent shooting incident at The Covenant School in Nashville, where a transgender-identifying shooter killed six people.

Governor Lee has expressed support for a form of red flag law, which allows temporary confiscation of firearms from individuals deemed a risk to themselves or others. The special session will also focus on mental health, gun storage guidelines, human trafficking, and temporary mental health orders of protection.

Opposition to Governor's Proposal

Tennessee Governor Bill Lee's proposal to enhance public safety has been met with opposition from Republican leaders in the legislature. However, his office insists that it should not be considered a red flag proposal. The aim is to strike a balance between protecting communities and preserving the constitutional rights of law-abiding citizens.

Governor's Alternative Proposal

The Governor of Tennessee does not support red flag laws. Instead, he has proposed a different law that aims to strengthen the existing order of protection process for cases of domestic violence, provide more support for law enforcement, ensure due process, require a high burden of proof, and enhance mental health support. This information was provided by the Governor's Press Secretary in an interview with The Daily Wire in June.

Republican Opposition to Red Flag Laws

Senate Majority Leader Jack Johnson and House Speaker Cameron Sexton, both Republicans, have expressed their opposition to red flag-style legislation. They believe that such laws, commonly referred to as red flag or order of protection bills, are ineffective and potentially unconstitutional. Johnson specifically mentioned the recent Supreme Court decision known as the Bruen decision, which he believes raises constitutional concerns about these types of laws.

No Implementation of Enhanced Orders of Protection or Red Flag Laws

In a recent statement, Tennessee House Speaker Cameron Sexton has stated that the state will not be implementing enhanced orders of protection or red flag laws. This comes as some Republicans have called for the release of the manifesto from The Covenant School shooter before a special session, while the Tennessee Executive Republican Committee has called for the cancellation of the session altogether.

Criticism from Tennessee Democratic Senate Caucus

The Tennessee Democratic Senate caucus has criticized the Republican-controlled state legislature for loosening gun laws and abolishing gun safety reforms. The Democrats made this announcement during a bus tour to address gun violence, with the final stop being in Nashville as the legislative session begins. The press release from the Democratic Senate caucus mentioned that the state has removed mandatory gun safety classes, background checks for carrying firearms, gun permits, and restrictions on carrying guns in public places.

Conservative Groups Oppose Red Flag Laws

Conservative groups in Tennessee are expressing opposition to the implementation of red flag laws in the state. Governor Bill Lee's recent proclamation in support of a "temporary mental health order of protection" has drawn criticism from these groups. They argue that the governor's stance aligns with calls from Democrats like Justin Jones and Joe Biden to enact gun control measures in Tennessee. The opposition groups, such as the Tennessee Firearms Association, believe that the governor should be more transparent about his support for red flag laws instead of using alternative terminology. They also reference a previous incident, the Covenant School murders in April 2023, as a reason for their concerns.

Opposition from Tennessee Faith and Freedom Coalition

The Tennessee Faith and Freedom Coalition, a conservative group, has expressed opposition to red flag laws and urged Governor Lee to cancel a special session. However, they have acknowledged the aspects of the governor's proclamation that address human trafficking.

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