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Governor Bill Lee calls special session to address gun reform

In a renewed effort to drive life-saving gun reform in the state, Republican Governor Bill Lee of Tennessee schedules a special session on August 21.  The session comes as the nation grapples with high-profile mass shootings and the difficulty for lawmakers to get something meaningful passed in regard to gun ownership.  

“After speaking with members of the General Assembly, I am calling for a special session on August 21 to continue our important discussion about solutions to keep Tennessee communities safe and preserve the constitutional rights of law-abiding citizens,” said Bill Lee in a statement announcing the special session.

“There is broad agreement that action is needed, and in the weeks ahead, we’ll continue to listen to Tennesseans and pursue thoughtful, practical measures that strengthen the safety of Tennesseans, preserve Second Amendment rights, prioritize due process protections, support law enforcement and address mental health.”

This sentiment echoes his thrust for reform last month during a legislative session.  It was there that he proposed an extreme risk protection order law, which would keep firearms out of the hands of individuals who pose a risk to themselves or others.  Under this order, law enforcement would investigate and decide if the individual in question is a risk to themselves or others.  If the individual was considered a threat, they would have a hearing scheduled at court in which the judge would make the final ruling.  If found to be a threat, the individual’s firearms would need to be surrendered in two days, along with their permit to carry.  Orders would be held for up to 180 days at a time.

House Republicans immediately slapped down this proposal, preventing it from going to a vote,  labeling the law a form of “red flag law.”  There are currently 19 states that have red flag laws; although, Governor Lee says this law is not a “Red flag law” and that to call it such is a “toxic political label” meant to sway opinion.  

Prior to August’s special session, a website was put up for the general public and stakeholders to voice their concerns and proposals to deal with gun violence.  These issues are expected to be addressed by Governor Lee at the special session.  


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