HomeLocal News

Tennessee’s extended background gun checks to mostly affect rural counties, official says

From NewsChannel 9: Strengthened background checks now in effect in Tennessee will likely have a greater effect on how court officials and law enforcement do business in rural counties, according to one Hamilton County Criminal Court official.


On Tuesday, Governor Bill Lee announced that he signed this executive order in response to the recent deadly mass shooting at the Covenant School in Nashville, which killed 3 adults and 3 children.


“We should be very serious about real solutions, and about getting real solutions across the finish line,” says Gov. Lee.

Governor Lee’s executive order aims to do 3 things:

  1. If someone commits a crime, relevant criminal information would now be entered into the Tennessee Instant Check system (TICS) or provided to the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation (TBI) within 72 hours after an entity like law enforcement learns of it.
  2. Ensure that circuit, chancery and general sessions courts “accurately, completely, and timely” submit relevant information to the TBI’s FlexCheck database, or directly with the TBI.
  3. The TBI will review the TICS system to see if any improvements can be made, and report their findings to the governor and legislative leaders by June 10th of this year.


Governor Lee also called for a law that would create an ‘order of protection’ designed to keep guns out of the hands of individuals that law enforcement and others deem ‘dangerous.’

We wanted to see how local officials view these new rules for background checks, and whether and how they would make a difference.


Hamilton County Criminal Court Chief of Staff Jason Clark told us on Tuesday that the county already does all of the things spelled out in the order.


“We send all dispositions of all criminal cases to the TBI no less than twice a day,” says Clark.

Clark says the order will likely have the greatest impact for rural counties that don’t already follow the guidelines spelled out in the order.


We reached out to Marion, Grundy, Bledsoe, and McMinn County. They all said they either have a turn around time of same day to 48 hours later.


“Executive order along with a new, stronger border protection law, will provide that next step, and making sure that our communities are a safer place to live,” says Gov. Lee.

For Hamilton County, Clark says this is something they already do very well.


“We are already going above and beyond so that we can meet an even more extreme, you know, role if he came down with it,” says Clark.