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Tennessee Governor Signs Order To Improve Gun Background Checks

Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee signed an executive order on Tuesday attempting to strengthen the state’s background checks for gun purchases. He called on state lawmakers to pass what are known as red flag laws that would temporarily remove guns from people deemed dangerous. Lee’s announcement comes two weeks after six people, including three children, were killed at a Christian school in Nashville, setting off statewide protests and calls for gun reform, reports the Washington Post. “This is our moment to lead and to give the people of Tennessee what they deserve,” Lee said at a news conference to honor Nashville officers who responded to the shooting at the Covenant School on March 27.

Lee said his order would attempt to beef up background checks by requiring that criminal activity by a gun owner be reported to authorities. It would also require the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation to examine the state’s process for purchasing firearms and submit a report within 60 days. It is time to listen to voters calling for gun reform, Lee said. “It’s going to require coming together, laying down our previously held positions, potentially,” he said. Tennessee is one of the deadliest states for gun violence and has some of the nation's most lax gun measures. A 2021 bill that would have established red flag laws in the state failed. The shooter at the elementary school, former student Audrey Hale, 28, was under a doctor’s care for an “emotional disorder,” at the time of the rampage. Hale legally purchased seven weapons from five local stores and later sold one of the firearms. Three of those were used in the rampage. “The existing background-check process for purchasing a firearm only works when there is accurate and timely information that’s available,” Lee said.


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