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Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee calls for special session to pass public safety legislation

From the Chattanooga Times Free Press: Gov. Bill Lee is calling for the Tennessee General Assembly to convene a special session to pass legislation that will strengthen public safety.


“After much input from members of the General Assembly and discussions with legislative leadership, we have decided to call a special session to continue our work to protect Tennessee communities and preserve constitutional rights,” said Gov. Lee in the statement.


“There is broad agreement that dangerous, unstable individuals who intend to harm themselves or others should not have access to weapons,” he stated. “We also share a strong commitment to preserving Second Amendment rights, ensuring due process and addressing the heart of the problem with strengthened mental health resources.”


Following the March 27 mass shooting at The Covenant School in Nashville that killed three 9-year-old children and three adults, Lee called for state lawmakers to pass a law aimed at preventing guns from getting in the hands of people who are a danger to themselves or others.


The Republican governor also signed an executive order to tighten the background check process in the state. The executive order requires that the criminal history and court mental health information is entered into the Tennessee Instant Check System or provided to the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation within 72 hours.


Authorities have said the killer at The Covenant School, Audrey Hale, had mental health issues. The governor’s statement said he looks forward to working with the General Assembly on “thoughtful, practical solutions to keep Tennesseans safe.”


Lee will release additional details in the coming days, it stated.


Lee sought action on his proposal during the legislative session, which wrapped up Friday. Although Lee was careful not to call his proposal a “red flag” law, it was criticized as such by Second Amendment rights groups and lawmakers who opposed it.