Sunday, April 23, 2023

Gov. Lee's Red Flag proposal is Dead on Arrival

by Rod Williams, April 23- Governor Bill Lee has proposed a bill that he says is not a Red Flag law but is what most people would call a Red Flag law.  He calls it an "an improved Order of Protection law." The bill does not have a sponsor, so it does not have a bill number and is not posted on the State Legislatures website.  The State legislature got the proposal in the last days of the session and did not act on the proposal. Lee is calling the legislature back into session to consider the bill. (link)

Gov. Lee's proposal would allow the police to ask a civil court judge to remove firearms from people who were at risk of hurting themselves or others. Lee explains the bill like this:

... in Tennessee right now, if a husband threatens to hurt his wife, an Order of Protection would temporarily restrict his access to weapons to protect the spouse. If that same man threatens to shoot himself or a church or a mall, our proposal will provide that same level of protection to the broader public. We have a proven solution that gets to the heart of the problem – an improved Order of Protection law to save lives and preserve the Second Amendment. 

While the bill needs to be subject to hearings and debate and one needs to actually read the bill before having a firm position, based on what I know now, I think this is a smart and reasonable approach to help curtail gun violence.  Although, I would expect the impact to be minimal, it is one modest step that may help some. Unfortunately, it appears the bill is dead on arrival. The Wall Street Journal and other news source and people I have talked to tell me the bill is going nowhere. The WSJ reports:
Republican leadership blocked it in both chambers, leaving it without a sponsor or a bill number by the time the General Assembly adjourned Friday evening.

A Republican operative at the Capitol who was familiar with the recent discussions on the proposal said Thursday that “it landed with a thud” in both chambers. The Tennessee Firearms Association, a gun-rights group, had lobbied against the effort.

“It’s dead for the time being,” said Richard Archie, a member of the group’s board, on Thursday.

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