NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — Top Republicans are blocking new gun restrictions despite polls and public feedback requested by the governor showing a majority of voters want them.
“I’m not hopeful at all. I’m not optimistic at all. I just don’t think it’s going to happen,” said Vincent Dixie (D-Nashville). “They’ve shown that they’re not willing to listen to anything.”
After the horrific Covenant School shooting back in March, Governor Bill Lee opened up a public response form about what changes the state should make in the aftermath. By some counts, over 80% called for stricter gun laws.
Yet still, nothing.
News 2 asked the Tennessee governor how he justified not including the opportunity for more reform in his official proclamation.
“I think it’s important that we give Tennesseans an opportunity to express their voice. That’s what the portal is for. It’s a public portal, so everyone can see it. All the lawmakers can see it, all the members of the General Assembly, and I’ve asked them to,” said Gov. Lee.
News 2 also asked Lee if he felt like the General Assembly did a sufficient job in reviewing the responses.
“I trust the members of the General Assembly. They represent their constituents, that’s what they’re elected to do. So, of course, they listen to the people that live in their respective districts, and then they come together and work together with other lawmakers to decide what’s in the best interest of Tennesseans in general,” said Lee.
Even further multiple polls have shown a desire for more gun control.
“[Vanderbilt] puts out polls all the time. From what I saw, just briefly looking at it, a very small sample size of just over 1,000 in a state that’s got just over seven million,” said Rep. Jason Zachary (R-Knoxville). “The bottom line is, if you look at the makeup of the legislature, we’re a supermajority Republican state.”
Several Covenant families came together to form a new nonprofit and called on lawmakers to pass some small, bipartisan gun reform ideas. But those have fallen on deaf ears.
“Well, I don’t think all Covenant parents can be lumped into one segment,” said Speaker of the House Cameron Sexton (R-Crossville). “We’ve talked to Covenant parents that feel a little bit differently, that have a little different angle on it. So, I think what they want to see is they want to see movement.”
How to achieve that moment, though, is the crux of the argument.