NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — During the special session Thursday, the Tennessee House of Representatives unanimously adopted an amended bill to protect victims of stalking.
When House Majority Leader William Lamberth (R) introduced the bill, he called upon a heartbreaking story that happened Nashville.
In April 2009, Nikki Goeser’s husband was shot and killed in front of her, by her stalker. The stalker has since been convicted, but Lamberth shared that he continues to send her messages from jail.
Meanwhile, Goeser is working with lawmakers to protect herself and others.
House Bill 7003 expands the eligibility for a lifetime order of protection to include victims of aggravated stalking and especially aggravated stalking.
“This is something that women have had to deal with for a very long time, being stalked, and generally something has to happen in order for action to be taken,” said House Minority Leader Karen Camper (D). “To have the ability to have a lifetime order to protect women or families, I do think that’s very important for us to do.”
The approved amendment allows the protected person to ask the court for relief from any ban on purchasing or possessing a firearm if the person stalking them has been pardoned for the offense, has their conviction expunged, or has their full civil rights restored without a specific prohibition involving gun possession.
“I’m a victim of a violent crime, but I also support the basic human right of self-defense, and I don’t want to see that trampled on,” said Goeser. “I don’t want bad people to have guns, but at the same time, I don’t want to see laws abused where innocent people could get caught up in this and be absolutely defenseless.”
The bill now moves to the Senate.
“That is something that the Senate should unbury their heads in because that is going to protect the victims of violent crime, especially when someone continues to stalk them,” said state Rep. Johnny Garrett (R). “That, to me, is a no-brainer.”
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