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Gov. Lee says no action needed on guns to make schools safer

Published: Jun. 8, 2022 at 11:58 AM CDT
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MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - Tennessee Governor Bill Lee fielded questions about his executive order on school safety and guns during a visit to Memphis on Wednesday.

Lee was in town to visit a new accelerated apprenticeship program for local residents interested in the electrical trade, but the during the question and answer segment, he was asked about a recent executive order that he enacted on school safety.

Lee’s office says the order directs accountability measures for school safety and the evaluation of training for Tennessee law enforcement. It also established additional resources to help parents, teachers and law enforcement in improving school security practices.

The order includes increased access to mental health and more ways to help students and families to report suspicious behavior.

But the order was criticized for not addressing or mentioning gun violence.

While some states have taken action on gun control since the shooting at a Texas elementary school that killed 19 students and 2 teachers, like New York raising the minimum age to buy a semiautomatic weapon, Governor Lee says there’s no mention of guns in his executive orders because he believes states can control school safety first.

Lee was asked if states can control who can by certain guns, and replied:

“Actually that can be controlled and there are access controls. Keep those children separated from those criminals,” he said.

Lee also says he has no intent on looking at open carry laws.

“It’s important to remember that permitless carry is for law-abiding citizens and provide protection for those who are law-abiding citizens,” he said.

The Memphis City Council and Memphis Police have been concerned with the increasing number of guns being stolen from cars in the city. Many attribute the increase to laxer gun laws like permitless carry.

But Governor Lee says he believes what the state can immediately control is how safe a school building is, not who can get a certain kind of gun. Opponents say it’s not enough to address school safety without addressing gun control.

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