Tennessee’s Not Very Special Special Legislative Session on Guns

That won’t address guns at all

Andy Spears


Photo by Colin Lloyd on Unsplash

In the wake of a devastating school shooting in Nashville earlier this year, Tennessee’s Governor faced pressure to call a special legislative session to address the issue of gun violence.

After much talk and pushback, Gov. Bill Lee did finally call a special session, and it starts today.

However, the call of the session is relatively narrow and the Republican supermajority has promised NOT to take up Gov. Lee’s “Red Flag” bill.

These types of laws are designed to keep guns out of the hands of individuals who are an imminent harm to themselves or others.

“There is broad agreement that dangerous, unstable individuals who intend to harm themselves or others should not have access to weapons,” said Lee, explaining why he’s calling the special session.

Democratic lawmakers have criticized the special session, noting that not only does it not allow for discussion of a full range of options to curb gun violence, but it also takes steps to criminalize young people, as Lee has proposed trying more juvenile offenders in adult courts and making it more difficult for those convicted of crimes as juveniles to have their records expunged.

The Tennessee Senate’s Democratic Leader, Raumesh Akbari of Memphis, had this to say:

“A promise to do something to stop future shootings was made to Covenant parents, but sadly this proclamation eliminates many paths forward. While the narrow focus of this special session is frustrating, it will not stop Senate Democrats from fighting for reforms that directly address the epidemic of gun violence in our communities.”



Andy Spears

Writer and policy advocate living in Nashville, TN —Public Policy Ph.D. — writes on education policy, consumer affairs, and more . . .