According to the Office of the Governor, “Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee announced that he will call for the Tennessee General Assembly to convene a special legislative session on Aug. 21, 2023, to strengthen public safety and preserve constitutional rights.
“After speaking with members of the General Assembly, I am calling for a special session on Aug. 21 to continue our important discussion about solutions to keep Tennessee communities safe and preserve the constitutional rights of law-abiding citizens,” Gov. Lee said. “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.”
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When asked to comment on the upcoming session, Representative Paul Sherrell said he didn’t have any specifics on the agenda at this time. He and other legislators are scheduled to meet with the governor in July to discuss public safety and the special session. Rep. Sherrell stated guns are not the problem. Some individuals with mental issues and “some evil individuals are the real problem.” He also indicated he is firmly against “Red Flag” laws that can deprive an individual of their Second Amendment rights without due process.
Senator Paul Bailey said the governor hadn’t officially set the special session yet. He will also meet with the governor in July. Senator Bailey believes a special session isn’t necessary. He also stated he is firmly against “Red Flag” and “ERPO, Extreme Risk Protection Orders” laws. Senator Bailey said we must focus on mental health and responsible gun ownership. Senator Bailey said a special session would become the target of protests for individuals and groups from outside the state. He believes the governor could gain some goodwill with the legislature if he reconsidered his desire for a special session.
Gov. Lee’s called for a special session, “Red Flag” laws, and other “gun safety” measures after the Covenant Christian School shooting, in Davidson County, earlier this year. The governor and legislature agreed to approve about $200 million in grant funding to secure Tennessee schools. Gov. Lee has tried to carefully navigate between those supporting Second Amendment rights and those calling for gun control. Representative Sherrell and Senator Bailey indicated they stand firmly on the side of law-abiding gun owners.
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