NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — With Gov. Bill Lee (R-Tennessee) scheduling special session for Aug. 21, the conversation now turns to what will come out of it.
On Tuesday, Tennessee’s governor said it’ll be a combo of trying to preserve Second Amendment rights while also keeping guns out of the hands of dangerous people.
“That is the balance and that is the strategy that we are going to use going forward,” Lee said. “We have to find a way to do that, I think we can.”
But top Republicans have consistently said they will not consider any sort of protection order to remove firearms.
“I will not support any kind of red flag law or order of protection,” said Rep. Jason Zachary (R-Knoxville).
Instead, they say they’ll be focused on mental health.
“Whether [attackers] choose to commit that heinous act with guns or an automobile or a fertilizer bomb, we need to be recognizing there are people in a mental health crisis and they need treatment,” said Senate Majority Leader Jack Johnson (R-Franklin).
Democrats agree mental health is important but also want to see some gun reform.
“I would hope that we would have legislation dealing with emergency risk protection orders,” Rep. Harold Love Jr. (D-Nashville) said. “I would hope that we have legislation come out and be passed dealing with high-capacity magazines.”
The party really wants serious changes – assault weapons bans, stricter background checks, etc. – but they recognize they are in a super-minority, so Republicans will have to give for them to achieve anything.
“It’s disappointing,” Rep. Bo Mitchell (D-Nashville) said. “I don’t understand why someone ran for office to come down here and to do nothing.”
Still, Lee says a compromise is possible.
“I’ve asked lawmakers to consider options,” Lee said. “We’ll be working on that all summer long, and I think we’ll find an answer to that.”