Image Credit: Gov. Bill Lee / Facebook
The Tennessee Conservative [By Paula Gomes] –
A resolution was adopted on Saturday by members of the Tennessee Republican State Executive Committee encouraging Governor Bill Lee to reconsider the special legislative session due to begin August 21st.
Despite opposition from GOP leaders, Lee has been intent on lawmakers addressing state firearms laws following the murders of three children and three adults by a transperson at The Covenant School in Nashville on March 27th.
Lee made the announcement in early May that he would call the special session after the 113th legislative session was adjourned without GOP members taking action on his proposed extreme risk protection orders (ERPO) law which would allow a judge to take guns away from anyone deemed a threat to themselves or others.
During Saturday’s meeting in Mount Juliet, Chris Morris, an executive committee member from Giles County, stated that the special session will put Tennessee lawmakers in jeopardy as people will flood the state Capitol, including protesters from outside of Tennessee.
Tina Benkiser of Signal Mountain proposed an amendment that read, “The Tennessee Republican Party encourages Gov. Bill Lee to reconsider and not have a special session Aug. 21, 2023.”
Before the regular legislative session was adjourned, Lee had said that his proposal – that many who opposed called a “red flag law” – included provisions that gave additional due process. However, leaders of the House and Senate seem disinclined to cooperate.
Senate Majority Leader Jack Johnson typically sponsors bills for the governor but has stated that he doesn’t support “red flag laws.”
Responding to questions from the Tennessee Lookout, Johnson said, “Should the governor choose to introduce ERPO during special session, I will not be the sponsor.”
On the house side, House Speaker Cameron Sexton has expressed that he doesn’t believe that the governor’s ERPO will make it out of committee. However, he told the Tennessee Firearms Association that bills dealing with emergency commitals, “mass threats” directed at groups and locations, and improvements to the background check system for gun purchases in the state may have a chance.
Jade Byers, spokesperson for the governor, has said that Lee has met with “more than a 100 legislators” both Republican and Democrat, individually and in groups over the summer.
Tennesseans have been invited to leave their comments regarding public safety. The Governor’s office plans to keep the portal open until the start of the special session. All responses are considered public record.
About the Author: Paula Gomes is a Tennessee resident and reporter for The Tennessee Conservative. You can reach Paula at email@example.com.