Tennessee Governor Bill Lee was particularly peeved that the GOP-dominated Volunteer State legislature didn’t succumb to the usual post-tragedy outcries by all of the usual suspects to DO SOMETHING following the Covenant school shooting. Lee fully expected the aftermath of a school shooting to be enough to get them to pass a due process-free red flag confiscation law. But that didn’t happen.
Translation: The legislature didn’t take the opportunity to surf the usual wave of left wing anti-gun outrage and refused to let an atrocity committed by a random, mentally ill individual goad them into restricting the rights of all lawful Tennessee gun owners in a politically-driven show of concern, futilely intended to somehow mollify the loudest activist and media voices.
Governor Lee, a Republican, really really wanted the Tennessee legislature to do some legislatin’. When the General Assembly adjourned without any hint of action in that direction, he balled up his fists, stamped his feet, and called for a “public safety” special session, which will begin tomorrow.
As Lee promoted his push for more gun control over the summer, he said . . .
“I think most lawmakers agree with that and agree that we should be continuously improving public safety. That’s what the special session is about,” Lee said. “We propose a framework but the General Assembly at the end of the day will decide what happens in that session.”
After encountering months of furious pushback from people on his own side of the political aisle in the months since the shooting, here are the priorities he laid out when he officially called for the session earlier this month.
- Codifying his executive order dealing with the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation and background checks. The proposal requires reporting of accurate, complete and timely records from court clerks to the TBI within 72-hours and requires electronic submissions of dispositions and expungements to the TBI.
- A TennCare mental health coverage waiver to allow federal matching funds for Medicaid to cover mental health and substance abuse services;
- Budget initiatives prioritizing hiring and retaining mental health professionals in the state;
- Eliminating certain practice requirements for psychiatric nurse training to expand access to mental health treatment;
- Greenlighting DNA collection at the time of arrest for felony crimes;
- Directing TBI to report on the state of human trafficking in Tennessee;
- Eliminating taxes on firearm safes and other safe storage initiatives.
It seems The Gov’s desire for red flag confiscations has been muted. To literally no one’s surprise, these non-confiscatory priorities didn’t satisfy the most virulent anti-gun voices in Tennessee . . .
House Minority Leader Karen Camper, D-Memphis, said she was disappointed with the exact scope of the special session. She said she was hoping for a “serious discussion about gun reform in Tennessee.”
“The number of firearms in our state is staggering and has been since we passed the open carry and guns in trunks laws. But simply focusing on safe storage alone does not truly solve the problems we face in this state and that our constituents were begging us to debate after the Covenant school shooting in Nashville and the Prive restaurant shooting in Memphis this past March,” she said.
Who could have possibly seen that coming?
We’ll see what, if anything, actually comes from this political dog and pony show. To paraphrase a wise man, no one’s rights or wallet are safe when the legislature is in session. In the mean time, the staunch gun rights supporters at the DC Project are keeping their eyes on what’s going on in Nashville this week and they’ve issued this announcement . . .
DC Project-Women for Gun Rights will discuss the upcoming special session on gun control. Hear from moms, a law enforcement professional, survivors of violence and experts in firearms safety on why they oppose the calls for more gun control. Several House Republican leaders will attend.
WHAT: Press Conference
WHEN: Monday, August 21, 2023, 12:30PM CST
WHERE: Please contact Dianna Muller [email protected] / www.dcproject.info
The DC Project is a nationwide organization of women committed to safeguarding the Second Amendment. A non-partisan initiative of daughters, mothers, and sisters that believe education is the key to firearm safety and violence prevention, not legislation.