MEMPHIS, Tenn. — There is a new debate over people who are dealing with mental illnesses having access to guns in Tennessee.

This comes after a gunman tried to enter a Memphis Jewish school this week, which is raising questions about what prevents someone with mental health issues from getting a gun in the state of Tennessee.

“We send our kids to school so that they can get an education not so they can dodge bullets,” said Jesse Chism, Tennessee Representative.

Family friends say 33-year-old Joel Bowman is the gunman critically wounded by officers after he allegedly fired shots outside the Margolin Hebrew Academy and tried to force his way into the school. They also told WREG that Bowman struggles with mental illness.

Bowman recently posted on social media about his battles with Post-traumatic stress disorder and being confronted with the memory of his father’s death 20 years ago.

State lawmakers say mental illness must be addressed in the upcoming special session.

“Just exactly that, trying to figure out how do we get people who shouldn’t have access to a firearm and how do we prevent them from getting that access,” said Brent Taylor, Tennessee Senator.

“We have to make sure the people that we’re putting firearms in the hands of that those people are qualified and able to have a firearm,” Representative Chism said.

Despite opposition from Republican lawmakers to the so-called “red flag laws”, Governor Bill Lee is expected to keep pushing his bill allowing courts to order the temporary removal of guns.

“I think it’s doomed,” Senator Taylor said. “There is very little support for the Governor’s red flag bill. Lawmakers say there’s likely more consensus for supporting mental health and background checks.”

“I think one step in the right direction is restoring our permit process,” Representative Chism said. “When the General Assembly voted on having people carry firearms without trying, without background checks, can handle firearms, we did a really bad thing.”

“That’s why I think mental health, judicial commitment, fixing the background check and also enhancing the penalties for threatening mass violence, I think if we do those things, they’ll go a long way in getting the results we want,” Senator Taylor said.

The governor has said he’s met with many Republican and Democratic lawmakers, along with pastors, students, and business leaders about gun reform in advance of the special session.