On April 21, the Tennessee Legislature finished its annual session, and failed to act on gun control, despite Tennessee Governor Bill Lee calling for action on guns following the deadly shooting at The Covenant School in Nashville that occurred in March. Due to this, Lee called for a special legislative session “to protect Tennessee communities and preserve constitutional rights.” Lee announced on May 8 that this special session will take place on August 21.
Lee said in a statement that “There is broad agreement that action is needed, and we’ll continue to listen to Tennesseans and pursue thoughtful, practical measures that strengthen their safety, preserve Second Amendment rights, prioritize due process protections, support law enforcement and address mental health.” Over the course of the summer, Lee will meet with legislators, stakeholders, and Tennesseeans to discuss possible solutions ahead of the session’s convening.
Lee has called for “temporary mental health orders of protection,” though Lee insists that his proposal is not a “red-flag” law. Lee proposes that courts will be able to issue extreme risk protection orders, removing guns from people who show signs of potentially violent behavior for up to a year.
In order for an extreme risk protection order to be issued, family members or law enforcement would have to petition a court for an order. Following this, law enforcement would assess if the person in question was a threat, and then a court hearing would take place within three to five days. If the judge agrees that the person is dangerous, the person would then have to surrender all guns and ammunition that they own to a third party within two days, and any handgun carry licenses would be suspended within three business days.