(UnitedVoice.com) – About a week and a half before Easter, on March 27, 2023, a shooter walked into The Covenant School in Nashville, Tennessee, and opened fire. Three 9-year-olds and three adults were callously gunned down. The alleged shooter was identified by police as 28-year-old Aiden Hale, a transgender male who used to attend the school.
The shooting set off a firestorm in Tennessee. Two lawmakers were expelled from the legislature after they broke the rules of their chamber. Protests have rocked the capital. And now the governor is calling for stricter gun laws.
Red Flag Laws
On Tuesday, April 11, Governor Bill Lee (R-TN) signed an executive order strengthening background checks for gun purchases. Additionally, he called on lawmakers in the GOP-dominated Capitol to pass a red flag law.
According to POLITICO, the governor said he believes “there is a clear need for action.” He said that it’s time to “set aside politics and pride and accomplish something” the people of the state want.
Red flag laws allow law enforcement officers and the courts to seize weapons from law-abiding citizens who are allegedly a danger to themselves or others. The laws raise constitutional concerns because they allow for seizures to occur without a hearing where the person in question can defend themselves.
The National Rifle Association (NRA) has said the laws can also empower politically-motivated seizures by people who don’t agree with the political views someone has espoused. In that case, the gun advocacy group believes red flag laws are a violation of the First Amendment as well as due process.
Lt. Governor Randy McNally said he would support a red flag law in the state. News Channel 5 reported he said that he still supports the “Second Amendment unequivocally” and believes it’s important for the protection of people. However, he said he thinks there should be “steps to ensure” mentally ill people should not have “access to weapons that can be used in mass casualty events.”
McNally went further and said he thinks it’s possible to protect the constitutional rights of the American people while also making sure “people experiencing severe mental health crisis” don’t have guns.
Other Republicans are not on board. Senate Majority Leader Jack Johnson (R) said his priority is protecting the constitutional rights of the state’s residents. He made it clear that he will continue to oppose red flag laws, just as he always has, the Nashville Scene reported. Rep. Jason Zachary (R) also said he would not support the legislation.
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