The Legislative Session About Nothing

Tennessee lawmakers demonstrate how to avoid tough issues

Andy Spears


Photo by Foto K. on Unsplash

The Tennessee General Assembly started a special legislative session on public safety this week and so far, it appears to be a road to nowhere.

As the session began, Senate Democratic Leader Raumesh Akbari of Memphis said:

“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.”

Once lawmakers were gaveled into session, it became clear that little serious legislation would be considered.

Republican Gov. Bill Lee asked lawmakers in his party to consider legislation that would allow law enforcement to remove firearms from a person who poses a credible danger to themselves or others.

However, members of Lee’s own party, who have a supermajority in the Senate, refused to consider this proposal and also blocked gun safety proposals offered by Democrats.

After a week of inaction, Senate Democratic Caucus Chair London Lamar called the session an “embarrassment.”

“Like many concerned parents, we came to this special session to fight for legislation to protect our children from gun violence. But Republicans would not even allow a debate on real gun safety solutions. It’s an embarrassment. This special session has been an insult to victims and survivors of gun violence.”

But it wasn’t just the state’s minority political party that was speaking out. Advocates — from physicians…



Andy Spears

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