When Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee began a push in April to address public safety, his family was grieving the loss of two close friends, educators killed in a mass shooting at a Nashville Christian school. His call for millions of dollars to harden school security was embraced by Republicans in the legislature. Days later, when Lee, a Republican, also asked for a "red flag" law that could temporarily restrict an individual’s access to firearms, legisators did not take a vote on it. Lee has summoned lawmakers back to Nashville on Monday for a special session on public safety that could include a limited version of the law. Without the support of most in his own party, that measure appears, once again, destined for failure because Of a Republican supermajority driven by a right-wing base hardened against any potential infringement on gun ownership, reports the New York Times.
“There’s issues that, really, the governor might have an opinion on, but the majority of the legislature has another opinion,” said Lt. Gov. Randy McNally, one of the few Republican lawmakers to openly back Lee’s proposal. in the lead up to the special session, Lee and senior Republicans have prioritized legislation that focuses on shoring up mental health resources and policy, toughening criminal penalties for threats of mass violence, targeting juvenile crime and incentivizing the safe storage of firearms. Some experts warn that the supermajority’s stance means that the legislature will do little to stem the toll of gun violence. “We need to get away from asking ourselves if anything is going to be good enough and really ask ourselves if the policies that are being put forward are going to be effective, and if they will not be harmful to vulnerable communities,” said Jen Pauliukonis of the Center for Gun Violence Solutions at Johns Hopkins University.