NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — With session racing toward close this week, Gov. Bill Lee released his proposal for some gun reform in Tennessee.
A 13-page amendment spells out new steps law enforcement can take to petition for a “temporary mental health order of protection.”
If someone is issued an order of protection under this bill, they’d have to “terminate physical possession of all firearms and ammunition” within 48 hours of the order.
If someone intentionally calls in a false alarm for an order of protection, they’ll be committing perjury, according to the amendment text.
Lee released a video message Wednesday, detailing his call on the General Assembly to “put politics aside” in passing the legislation.
It’s unclear if the General Assembly will support Lee’s proposal, especially given that many top Republicans have publicly expressed they wouldn’t support “red flag laws.”
Lt. Gov. Randy McNally released a statement not long after the proposal came to light:
“Our second amendment rights, given to us by God and secured by our constitution, are paramount to maintaining a free republic. Law-abiding gun owners make our society safer and serve as a check against tyranny. Those rights and that freedom is put in danger when those who should not have access to firearms use them to murder our citizens.Making sure the mentally ill and those in crisis do not have access to firearms while protecting the second amendment rights of everyone else is no easy task. It is an extremely delicate balance. I believe that balance has been struck with this proposed Temporary Mental Health Order of Protection. Other states that have attempted this balance have fallen short to one extent or another by failing to provide real due process and protect against false complaints.
There will be no “ex parte” aspect to this order whatsoever. The subject will be notified and has the opportunity to defend themselves. The subject will have access to a free court-appointed attorney or can retain the counsel of their choice. Anyone who is determined to make a false of the frivolous report would be guilty of aggravated perjury, a felony. Most important is the temporary nature of the order. These orders will not be indefinite. When they expire guns are returned and the order cannot be held against the subject in the future.
I have been supportive of this concept in the past and I am continuing to work with Governor Lee and my colleagues in the General Assembly towards this goal. ”
House Democratic Caucus Chairman John Ray Clemmons released a statement, which reads:
“I appreciate the Governor finally engaging on this important issue, but Lee has unsurprisingly handed us a watered down bill. It reads as if he is more concerned about getting all 75 Republicans’ votes on a bill than effectively protecting children and Tennessee families from gun violence. Tennesseans deserve leadership and courage on this issue from their elected leaders. Unfortunately, neither are coming from the other side of the aisle, and they should be held accountable for that.”