MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Governor Bill Lee has Tennessee State lawmakers coming together on Monday for a special session in Nashville.
The sessions will be centered around steps in support of law enforcement, addressing mental health, preventing violent crime, and also stopping human trafficking.
However, State Representative Jesse Chism says it won’t be about gun reform.
“Honestly, I think this special session is going to be a waste of taxpayer’s dollars,” said Jesse Chism, Tennessee State Representative. “I think it’s going to be a waste of a lot of our time if we don’t tackle the issues that affect everyday people.”
Representative Chism is a Democrat in Shelby County and says at first, he was “cautiously optimistic” about the special session, but now he is just “cautious.”
“When the governor actually declared the special session, the narrow scope of the things that we’re going to discuss, it doesn’t cover a lot of things that many of us feel would be helpful for public safety,” Chism said. “I believe that if we are going to talk about public safety, we have to at least discuss firearms at some point.”
Chism says firearms have been a battleground issue due to some people saying it will restrict their right to bear arms.
“That’s not exactly true. We want to talk about how we can make some changes in our gun legislation to be more palatable to everyone,” Chism said. “We do need to talk about having people have training to have firearms, to have licenses to have firearms. I believe one step in the right direction is putting our permitting process back in place.
Chism also says he’s hearing about teachers being able to carry firearms, which is something he considers dangerous.
“Our teachers are in a classroom to teach our students,” he said. “We need to have professionals at the school who are specialized in school security to check our schools to make sure they’re safe. A teacher doing that, that’s a lot to ask educators.”
“We have a lot of things that we do agree on,” said Mark White, Tennessee State Representative. “What we’re talking about is putting more money into mental health facilities, more beds, protection for health care workers. There are just a lot of issues we are going to address.”
Representative White, a Republican in Shelby County, says he hasn’t seen anything that would support a “red flag law.”
“I have gotten a lot of emails on that, but I do not see anything that supports a particular red flag law at this time,” said White.