From WZTV in Nashville: With a little over a week left before the Tennessee General Assembly convenes for a Special Session to address gun violenc
From WZTV in Nashville: With a little over a week left before the Tennessee General Assembly convenes for a Special Session to address gun violence, the first proposed bills are being submitted for consideration.
Tennessee Governor Bill Lee called on the state legislature to convene to address gun violence in the wake of The Covenant School mass shooting which took the lives of three 9-year-old students and three staff members in March.
Parents of children who attend the school also formed nonprofits aimed at curbing the violence, specifically focused on school safety, mental health outcomes, and gun reform.
On Wednesday, Representative William Lamberth (R-D44-Portland) filed three of the first four bills for the Special Session which officially begins on August 21.
Below is a breakdown of the bills and the bill summary:
“As introduced, requires each LEA, public charter school, private school, and church-related school to develop a policy to direct how students, teachers, substitute teachers, and staff are to respond when a fire alarm is activated on school premises outside of a scheduled fire drill to protect students, teachers, substitute teachers, and staff in the event the fire alarm was activated due to the presence of an active shooter on school premises.”
“As introduced, expands the eligibility for filing a petition to obtain a lifetime order of protection to include victims of aggravated stalking and especially aggravated stalking.”
“As introduced, requires the court or chief officer of a mental health facility that orders the release of a person from the mental health facility to notify the law enforcement agency that transported the person to the mental health facility of the person’s release.”
In a statement on X (formerly Twitter), Rep. Lamberth says the bills “improve the safety of our great state and in no way infringe on our civil liberties.”
Last week, a mother of one of The Covenant School victims spoke out for the first time since losing her daughter. In an ad created by Voices for a Safer Tennessee, Katy Diekhaus, mother of 9-year-old Evelyn Diekhaus, says her daughter’s life was taken by a “troubled person who easily accessed multiple firearms, turning our whole world and family upside down.” The ad closes by pointing to the Special Session and asking “What’s more important?”
The ad came on the week her daughter would have celebrated her 10th birthday and just weeks before legislators are set to convene.