NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN)– After six people were murdered at The Covenant School on Monday, a reporter asked Metro Nashville Police Chief John Drake if there were only laws in Tennessee that would’ve allowed police to take the shooter’s guns if it had been reported.
“If it had been reported, there’s not a law for that. But had it been reported that she was suicidal or that she was going to kill someone and it had been known to us, then we would’ve tried to get those weapons,” Chief Drake told reporters Tuesday.
According to a recent Vanderbilt University Medical Center poll, 63% of Tennessee parents support gun access restrictions by court orders, often referred to as a red flag law.
“These laws allow people like parents or friends to alert officers who can then petition the judge to remove firearms,” explained University of California Davis Assistant Professor Veronica Pear.
Pear is a social epidemiologist who studies gun violence and the effectiveness of gun violence restraining orders.
“This is kind of the poster child case of why a state would want a law like this in the books,” Pear explained.
Nineteen states and Washington D.C. have passed a type of red flag law.
According to research from UC Davis, California red flag laws have been credited with stopping at least 58 potential shootings or suicide.
During Tuesday’s news conference, Chief Drake said keeping guns out of their child’s hands was what the shooter’s parents wanted.
“Her parents felt she should not have owned weapons, they were under the impression when she sold the one weapon that she did not own anymore,” Drake said.
Drake added the shooter hid several weapons at home and came to the school well-armed and trained.
“From the video I’ve seen, she stood away from the glass so she wouldn’t be an easy target to be shot,” Drake explained.
In the wake of the mass shooting, President Joe Biden has repeated his calls for an assault weapons ban.
“How many deer are wearing Kevlar vests? You know? I mean, really, I mean, just think about it. You can’t own a machine gun. Well, the idea you can’t block this stuff, give me a break,” he said.
However, some Republican lawmakers are skeptical new gun restrictions will stop school shootings.
“I don’t think you’re going to stop the gun violence,” said Rep. Tim Burchett (R-Tennessee). “A common thread is you have someone who is mentally ill and evil.”
In a recorded video, Gov. Lee called for action but didn’t say exactly what he wanted to see done.
“We will act to prevent this from happening again. There is a clear desire in all of us, whether we agree on the action steps or not, that we must work to find ways to protect against evil,” the Governor said.
After the Uvalde shooting, Lee said he has no plans to put in place any restrictions on gun laws in Tennessee.
“Criminals don’t follow laws, criminals break laws, whether they are a gun law, a drug law… criminals break laws, and we can’t control what they do,” Lee said.