Tennessee Gov Enhances Background Checks, Calls for Red Flag Laws Following Shooting

By Published on April 12, 2023

Republican Tennessee governor Bill Lee signed an executive order Tuesday expanding background checks, and called for red flag legislation just weeks after the Nashville school shooting.

The executive order enhances background procedures before purchasing firearms by requiring mental health and criminal history to be submitted. Lee also called on the state’s General Assembly to pass red flag laws for further protection.

“Our current law is proven and effective in many circumstances, especially with regards to domestic violence, but this new stronger order of protection law will provide the broader population cover, safety, from those who are in danger to themselves or to the population,” Lee told reporters at a news conference.

The executive order will require the criminal history and mental health information of firearm applicants to be submitted within 72 hours to the Tennessee Instant Check System (TICS) or to supply that information to the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation (TBI). Courts will be required to submit similar information to the background check system.

The order will also require the TBI to issue a report on the current firearm purchasing process within 60 days.

Lee used the conference to call on the state’s legislature to pass the equivalent of red flag laws, which have the support of top state lawmakers, according to NBC News.

“Any such order process must be tightly constructed with sufficient due process and protection against false or fraudulent reporting,” Republican Lieutenant Governor and Speaker of the State Senate Randy McNally said in a statement shared with the Daily Caller News Foundation. “I believe it is possible to protect the constitutional rights of law-abiding gun owners while keeping guns out of the hands of people experiencing severe mental health crises,” he added.

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In late March, a transgender shooter undergoing medical care for an ’emotional disorder’ opened fire at a private Christian elementary school, killing six people, including three children.

“The House is willing to work toward bipartisan solutions to protect all children at their schools, in their communities, and inside their homes,” Republican House Speaker Cameron Sexton told NBC News.

Democrats, celebrities and other media figures have called for further gun control measures following the shooting. President Joe Biden asked Congress to pass an assault weapons ban.


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