NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — On Tuesday, Gov. Bill Lee stood alone as he asked for lawmakers to pass a bill to keep guns away from dangerous people. However, it isn’t clear who is working to write that legislation.
News 2 asked every Republican lawmaker after the governor’s announcement who is drafting the “Order of Protection” law, but no one said they were working on it.
“To my knowledge, no bill has been drafted. I am not willing to express support for or opposition to a bill that I have not seen,” said Senate Majority Leader Jack Johnson (R—Franklin) in a statement.
House Speaker Cameron Sexton (R—Crossville) said it is being worked on but offered no additional specifics.
“We are aware of several members who are drafting legislation on this issue but haven’t seen the language yet,” said his spokesperson in a statement.
In a video posted on social media, Rep. Jason Zachary (R—Knoxville) echoed his colleagues’ remarks.
“There’s no legislation, there is nothing for me to directly comment on because there is no language. There is no legislation,” he said.
When asked if their team is working on it, Governor Lee’s office pointed to his Tuesday announcement.
“I’m asking the Tennessee legislature to pursue a new ‘Order of Protection Law’ to separate dangerous individuals from firearms while preserving constitutional rights,” he said.
However, with the legislative session expected to conclude in a matter of weeks, people who have been marching and protesting in favor of gun reform are worried if the clock keeps ticking, lawmakers won’t act.
“These initial weeks there is kind of chaos a lot of emotions,” said Nashville parent Erin Carb. “Lawmaking is not a quick process, right? So, we need to make sure we keep the pressure on and this is sustained so we can see some real action on it.”
In response to concerns that nothing will get done before the end of session, Sen. Johnson said, “We don’t have a set time to adjourn here and we need to do the people’s business regardless of how long it takes.”
Yet other GOP leaders left room for lawmakers to take on gun reform next session.
“The problem is it’s towards the end of session and we need to make sure we get people comfortable with it as we go forward, but I think eventually it will pass. Hopefully, it will pass next time if not it will pass next year,” said Lt. Gov. Randy McNally.