Governor Signs Pro-2A Bill Into Law

( – The Biden administration might want to put tough restrictions on guns, but many states are holding the line for Second Amendment rights. Tennessee already has strong protections for gun ownership. Now, the state has passed another law to rein in gun controllers.

So-called “red flag” laws, or Emergency Protection Orders (EPRO), are one of the most controversial features of modern US gun control. These laws allow state courts to temporarily seize firearms belonging to someone who might be potentially dangerous. The problem is these laws can be abused, for example, by telling police that a gun owner has mental health or substance abuse issues when they actually do not.

Tennessee doesn’t have red flag laws, although Governor Bill Lee (R) said last year that he supported removing guns from anyone who’s shown they could hurt people. However, that didn’t stop him from signing House Bill 2035 on May 30.

This law was introduced earlier this year by Texas Representative Jody Barrett and was voted through by the Tennessee Legislature. The law blocks Tennessee cities from imposing their own red flag laws or accepting any grant intended to enable such a law. Introducing the bill, Barrett said it would protect state residents’ rights and show the “failing Biden administration” and state politicians that Tennesseeans won’t meekly accept any assault on their rights.

It’s possible Lee hasn’t actually changed his mind about red flag laws, but either way, Tennessee politics meant he never had a real choice. Republicans have a supermajority in the state legislature and could have overturned a gubernatorial veto. GOP legislators made clear to Lee they wouldn’t support any bill that introduced EPROs in the state.

Lee might not agree with them, but he’s gone along with them anyway. He’s even found a justification for it. Talking to reporters before he signed the bill, he said HB 2035 would enable “solutions that are unified across the state” and avoid a confusing “patchwork” of different laws.

Now Tennessee gun owners are safe from city governments that want to restrict their rights, and by banning grants, the law –- which took effect as soon as Lee signed it –- also takes away the federal government’s ability to undermine the state government.

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