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Republican Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee Urges Lawmakers to Set Aside Politics and Pass Red-Flag Gun Law

Republican Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee Urges Lawmakers to Set Aside Politics and Pass Red-Flag Gun Law

It’s been a tumultuous week in the Tennessee legislature. And today, in a surprising step toward unity, Republican Gov. Bill Lee is urging both parties to set aside “politics” and “pride” in order to come together to pass a red-flag law that would prevent guns from falling into the hands of those who are a danger to themselves or others.

The call for action comes after a recent shooting at a private Nashville Christian school, The Covenant School, where three students and three adults were killed by a 28-year-old former student.

“This is a moment in time where people can come together and get something done,” Lee said during a press conference. “When there is a clear need for action, I think that we have an obligation. And I certainly do want to remind people that we should set aside politics and prod and accomplish something that the people of Tennessee want us to get accomplished.

“It is important that we find a way to remove individuals who are a threat to themselves or to our society — to remove them from access to weapons,” Lee continued. “I’m asking the legislature to bring forth thoughtful practical measures to do that, to strengthen our laws [and] to separate those dangerous people from firearms, while at the same time preserving the constitutional rights of the people of this state.”

The proposed red-flag law, also known as an order of protection law, would require a high standard burden of proof and give the accused individual due process. The law would prevent individuals who are deemed to be a threat to themselves or the community from possessing firearms.

“Our current law is proven and effective in many circumstances, especially with regards to domestic violence,” Lee said. “But this new, stronger order of protection law will provide the broader population cover, safety from those who are in danger to themselves or to the population.”

In addition to the proposed red-flag law, Lee also signed an executive order that would strengthen the state’s background checks system. The order would require new criminal activity to be reported in the system within 72 hours.

Lee said he hopes the bill will pass before the current legislative session ends.

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