NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — The term “red flag law” is gaining traction in the wake of the horrific Nashville school shooting earlier this week.
“We need red flag laws,” Rep. John Ray Clemmons (D—Nashville) said. “Red flag laws, in the state of Tennessee, are absolutely necessary.”
They vary from state to state, but for the most part, a red flag law allows law enforcement to potentially mark someone as a “red flag” if they present a danger to themselves or other people. If law enforcement can prove the danger through due process, they can potentially remove guns from someone’s possession and prevent them from purchasing any more.
The concept is something Lt. Gov. Randy McNally (R—Oak Ridge) says he’s on board for here in Tennessee.
“There might be some disagreement here, but that’s something I would support,” he said.
McNally followed that by saying he would want it to have protections against false accusations.
Speaker of the House Cameron Sexton (R—Crossville) said nothing is off the table when it comes to next steps. Reporters asked him if that included assault rifle bans.
“Look, if there’s people who want to discuss it, we’re willing to discuss it,” Sexton said. “We’re not saying that we’re agreeable to it, but if you want to have a discussion, every option should be on the table.”
As rally-goers at the state Capitol chanted both inside and outside Thursday, Reps. Justin Jones (D—Nashville), Gloria Johnson (D—Knoxville) and Justin Pearson (D—Memphis) brought a megaphone on the House floor.
The move forced the house to take a 30-plus minute recess.
Democratic leadership—though angry when it happened—defended the trio.
“I think our members were just a little frustrated, wanted to be heard, wanted the majority to be heard, wanted the people to be heard,” House Minority Leader Karen Camper (D—Memphis) said. “Sometimes, the adrenaline gets going, you get going, and things happen. But I do think it was good trouble.”
“What is not okay is for members to try and take over the House and start something that would shut down the House in an effort to incite something inside this chamber,” Sexton said.
Sexton’s office confirmed “everything is on the table” when asked if he was thinking about potentially expelling the upstart trio.
When someone is expelled, they lose their seat for the session. In the meantime, the representative’s home county commission can appoint someone in their stead.
After session is up, a special election can be held. As long as the expelled member hasn’t been convicted of a crime, they can run again.
Additionally, Sexton compared the three Democratic representatives’ actions to the Jan. 6, 2021 insurrection against the U.S. Capitol.
“Two of the members, Reps. Jones and Johnson have been very vocal about January 6th in Washington D.C., about what that was,” Sexton said on the Hallerin Hilton Hill show on NewsTalk 98.7 in Knoxville. “What they did today was at least equivalent, maybe worse, depending on how you look at it, of doing an insurrection in the Capitol.”
Democrats fired back in response.
“I’m pissed,” Clemmons said. “I’m, frankly, really, really pissed off.”
While the January 6th insurrection has resulted in nearly 1,000 people charged with federal crimes and the death of one Capitol Police Officer, among others and more injuries, the Davidson County Sheriff’s Office said no arrests were made Thursday.