The governor made the announcement amid political turmoil in the state Legislature over a GOP-led ouster of two Democrats for leading a gun reform protest inside the statehouse this month. The Nashville Metropolitan Council, a body that has sparred with Republicans in the Legislature, reappointed one of the lawmakers, Rep. Justin Jones, to his seat on Monday. The second member, Rep. Justin Pearson, is also expected to be reinstated this week.
While some GOP states, including Florida and Indiana, have embraced red flag laws, such legislation faces long odds in Tennessee, a deep-red state with many Republican leaders strongly opposed to any effort that could be construed as limiting gun rights.
But Lee said that he’d been meeting with legislative leaders to discuss passing an order-of-protection law that would allow law enforcement to seek a court order confiscating firearms from people deemed a danger to themselves or others. Nineteen states and the District of Columbia have passed similar legislation with bipartisan support.
“I think everyone — leadership from speakers, as well as other leaders — have expressed a desire to do something and move forward,” Lee said at the police precinct that responded to the March 27 shooting at the Covenant School in Nashville that left six people dead, including three children. One of the adult victims was friends with Lee’s wife, Maria.
“I do believe we should get it done during this session,” Lee said.