MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee said Monday he will convene a special legislative session on August 21 to address proposed gun law changes.
Lee’s amendment, proposed shortly after a deadly shooting at a Nashville private school, would introduce a “temporary mental health order of protection” to remove guns from someone a court finds threatening.
House Republicans rejected the bill last month, saying they did not have enough time to review it before the end of the legislative session.
That prompted Lee’s call for a special session — Monday’s announcement sets the date.
Lee also asked for public feedback on the proposal (you can share your thoughts here) and said he would meet with legislators, stakeholders, and Tennesseans over the summer on the issue.
“There is broad agreement that action is needed, and in the weeks ahead, we’ll continue to listen to Tennesseans and pursue thoughtful, practical measures that strengthen the safety of Tennesseans, preserve Second Amendment rights, prioritize due process protections, support law enforcement and address mental health,” Lee said in a statement.
Senate Minority Leader Raumesh Akbari (D-Memphis), House Minority Leader Karen Camper of Memphis, and other lawmakers responded to the announcement by issuing statements calling for the General Assembly to address gun violence.
Read their full statements below:
Senator Raumesh Akbari
“The General Assembly should embrace this opportunity to pass sensible gun laws that stop future gun violence. The people demanding action have brought us to this moment and now we need every Tennessean who cares about this issue to tell their elected leaders to show up in August and support legislation that truly addresses gun violence.
Once we see the official call for the special session, we’ll know exactly what kind of legislation can be introduced. But we already know that broad majorities of voters, from all parts of the state and all political backgrounds, support common sense gun reforms, like extreme risk protection orders, waiting periods, and universal background checks.
House and Senate Democrats will have a comprehensive package of gun safety bills and we’re ready to get something done.”
Senator Sara Kyle
“In Memphis, we know all too well the deadly consequences of firearms falling into the hands of people who would do us harm. Gun violence has buried too many of our citizens and ripped apart too many families.
I appreciate the governor’s commitment to a special session. Now it’s time for this legislature to do its job and address the epidemic of gun violence.”
House Minority Leader Karen Camper
“The House Democratic Caucus is looking forward to working with Governor Lee and our Republican colleagues to enact meaningful legislation regarding sensible, bipartisan gun reform and public safety. We know that Tennesseans across the state in both urban and rural communities are watching closely to ensure that we address the issues of unlicensed gun sales, extreme risk and protection orders, and access to assault weapons and high-capacity magazines.
Our caucus was prepared to meet this challenge during the regular session to keep Tennesseans safe. It is unfortunate that our Republican colleagues decided to ignore our calls for action. As we wait for the August special session we will continue to work towards our goal to create a Tennessee where public safety is a priority.”
House Democratic Caucus Chair John Ray Clemmons of Nashville
“While I am glad to see Gov. Lee finally responding to the ongoing pleas of an overwhelming majority of Tennesseans begging us to take immediate, necessary action, I remain seriously concerned about the inexcusable delay and his willingness to legislatively address the real problem that is causing these continued threats of harm to our children and communities.”