Image: From Left – House Republican Leader William Lamberth, Senate Speaker Lt. Gov. Randy McNally, House Speaker Cameron Sexton Image Credit: Lt. Gov. Randy McNally / Facebook
The Tennessee Conservative [By Jason Vaughn] –
After months of speculation as to what the General Assembly may do during Governor Lee’s Special Session, top GOP leaders say that they will not give consideration to proposed gun laws.
The comments came months after Governor Lee pushed for lawmakers to pass an Extreme Risk Protection Order, also known as a Red Flag Law, toward the end of the last regular session of the General Assembly.
Lee made the official call for the Special Session to begin on August 21st but he only briefly mentioned guns in the list of focus items.
Although Lee is not publicly pushing for Red Flag Laws, lawmakers could still attempt to propose bills with similar language buried in their text. However, comments from top GOP leaders say they would be unlikely to garner the needed to support to pass.
Lt. Governor Randy McNally originally showed support for the Red Flag Law, but now he is backing down concerning the measure.
“I continue to support it, it won’t be an item that’s discussed in special session though,” said Lt. Gov. McNally. “I think the votes aren’t there.”
Speaker of the House Cameron Sexton confirmed that there will be no gun bills passed.
GOP Leaders instead say that legislators will give their attention to mental health reforms.
Sexton plans to support legislation that would increase the availability of occupancy in mental health facilities, require physicians to notify law enforcement if a patient poses a threat to themselves or others, and make it easier for individuals to be committed both voluntarily and involuntarily.
“There’s a lot of gray area, we want to clean up that gray area to make it very clear that if someone is going to harm themselves or others, or society, and makes those threats, there is a duty to warn mental health, law enforcement,” explained Sexton.
Sexton also supports hardening schools against mass shooters, charging individuals who threaten violent acts, strengthening TBI background checks, and increasing sentencing against juvenile offenders.
According to reports, the wording of Lee’s call for the Special Session prevented any gun control bills from being introduced. Democrats call the limitations on the special session hypocritical.
“You want to hospitalize someone or criminalize someone and incarcerate them against their will rather than just simply removing firearms from their home?” asked Democratic House Caucus Chair John Ray Clemmons.
Voices for a Safer Tennessee, a non-profit devoted to gun control lobbying, is also pushing for red flag laws, although those are now supposedly out of the question according to Lee’s agenda for the session.
Republicans are optimistic that the session will be a successful one.
“As a conservative Republican, anytime liberal Democrats are whining about the session, we probably have a pretty good session ahead of us,” stated House Majority Leader William Lamberth.
About the Author: Jason Vaughn, Media Coordinator for The Tennessee Conservative ~ Jason previously worked for a legacy publishing company based in Crossville, TN in a variety of roles through his career. Most recently, he served as Deputy Director for their flagship publication. Prior, he was a freelance journalist writing articles that appeared in the Herald Citizen, the Crossville Chronicle and The Oracle among others. He graduated from Tennessee Technological University with a Bachelor’s in English-Journalism, with minors in Broadcast Journalism and History. Contact Jason at news@TennesseeConservativeNews.com