NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN)– As students and parents were calling for gun reforms throughout the Tennessee Statehouse, Governor Bill Lee (R-Tennessee) faced questions from reporters about whether he would support “red flag” laws but wasn’t specific about what he would propose or support.
“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.
Lee told reporters that one thing everyone could probably agree on was that “a person who is a threat to themselves or a threat to others should not have access to weapons.”
However, every time he mentioned limiting some people’s access to weapons because they pose a danger, he said he wanted to find a way to accomplish that without infringing on constitutional rights.
Lee said the phrase “red flag” law could mean different things to different people and said he is looking for answers to separate firearms from dangerous people.
When asked if he is just “kicking the issue down the road” on “red flag” laws while he pushes forward measures to increase school security and put SROs in every school in Tennessee, Lee didn’t answer directly.
“I think as I said before, I think we all agree, that there is and that we all agree, that we should find something that we can agree upon that accomplishes the things that I’ve already laid out. I think we can do that. I think we should do that. I think we will work really hard to accomplish that. I believe it’s possible,” Lee said.
News 2 emailed every Republican Tennessee state lawmaker about their position on a bill like a “red flag” law and nearly every member of the Republican supermajority either didn’t respond or gave an indirect answer.
A “red flag” law passed in Florida months after the 2018 Parkland shooting. According to the Associated Press, it was applied more than 3,500 times in the first 20 months after being signed into law.
According to UC Davis in California, 58 shootings and suicides have been prevented in California due to a “red flag” law passed there in 2016.