NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — We’re now just over six weeks away from special session, and lawmakers are really beginning to form opinions.
“The words mean something. They just want to throw out the baby with the bathwater. I am for the right to bear arms, totally for that,” Rep. Sam McKenzie (D-Knoxville) said. “But it says a well-regulated militia to be set up, and that’s what we’re asking. Let’s regulate it.”
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McKenzie is referring to the Second Amendment, which reads, “A well-regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed,” which is arguably the most polarizing 27-word sequence in recent American history.
“I want them to actually read the Second Amendment,” McKenzie said. “It’s like the Bible. People raise it and wave it around all day long, but they never open it up and read what it says.”
Republicans have yet to publicly budge on gun reform, casting Gov. Bill Lee’s (R-Tennessee) emergency relief protection order to remove weapons from people deemed a threat as a red flag law.
But Lee has maintained he’s still hopeful for it.
“I believe one of the ways to do that is through the pieces of legislation that I have proposed,” he said. “My position hasn’t changed on that.”
No matter what they want though, Democrats are essentially at the mercy of Republicans.
Republicans say they’re willing to have the conversation, but Democrats have little confidence they’ll be involved in what the General Assembly actually passes.
“Let’s cut the bickering, let’s cut the infighting,” Sen. Charlane Oliver (D-Nashville) said. “Let’s finally come together on an issue that literally affects every last one of us and our families.”
The governor still has yet to officially call the special session. When asked for an update, his office wrote back, “The Governor will issue a proclamation for the special session on public safety closer to August 21, as is standard practice.”