GREENEVILLE, Tenn. (WJHL) — The future of gun control legislation recommended by Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee remains uncertain, as Northeast Tennessee lawmakers say they doubt it will be passed by the end of this legislative session.
Democratic state lawmakers say they have legislation written and ready to propose.
WATE’s sister station, WJHL, spoke with Rep. Gloria Johnson (D-Knoxville) about the proposals at a meeting of the Tennessee Federation of Democratic Women.
“I have a bill written for next session,” Johnson said. “They’re welcome to use my legislation, and they can put anybody’s name on it they want, and just pass it.”
Republican Gov. Lee has asked legislators to pass a law that would allow courts to separate those deemed dangerous from their guns before the session ends.
“I’m asking the legislature to bring forth thoughtful, practical measures to do that,” Lee said in a press conference on April 11. “I think we should get it done this year, and by this year I mean this legislative session.”
But several Northeast Tennessee lawmakers reached by phone Friday evening said they hadn’t seen anything in writing nor did they think anything would pass this session.
One of them is Sen. Jon Lundberg (R-Bristol), who sits on the Senate Judiciary Committee.
Rep. Rebecca Alexander (R-Jonesborough) said she couldn’t comment on a bill that she hadn’t seen. She said the measure was unlikely to pass before the end of next week, when Republicans are hoping to close the session.
Alexander added that gun control could be addressed in a special session, however, it’s not a decision that’s up to lawmakers.
“That would be at the governor’s discretion,” Alexander said.
Johnson is still fighting for a law to take guns from dangerous people, something she says is popular even with Republicans in her district.
“I polled on red flag laws and safe storage laws,” Johnson said. “Overwhelmingly, the Republicans, the independents, and the Democrats in my district favor red flag laws, overwhelmingly.”
Republican leaders have shied away from referring to this type of measure as a “red flag” law, but Johnson doesn’t mind.
“I don’t care what they call it,” Johnson said. “Let’s call it the Saving Tennessee Children’s Act. And let’s pass something now.”