Republican lawmakers call on Gov. Lee to cancel special session on public safety
Some Republican lawmakers are urging Lee to “abandon the special session” proposed for August 21 in response to The Covenant School shooting.
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WSMV) – At least three Tennessee lawmakers have signed a letter asking Gov. Bill Lee to cancel a special legislative session focusing on public safety.
In the letter penned by District 20 State Rep. Bryan Richey, Republican lawmakers urge Lee to “abandon the special session” proposed for August 21 in response to The Covenant School shooting “because the General Assembly can further consider and discuss legitimate measures to improve public safety when the legislature reconvenes in January 2024,” the letter reads.
“Summoning legislators to Nashville to enact an unconstitutional ‘red flag’ law will not, as you suggest, ‘strengthen public safety and preserve constitutional rights,” Richey said in the letter. “To the contrary, the General Assembly adamantly opposes and has refused to enact measures that violate Tennesseans’ Second Amendment rights, whether styled ‘order of protection’ legislation or any other euphemism.”
The call for the special session came just after the General Assembly adjourned for the year without considering the governor’s “Order of Protection” legislation, which he announced in April, or any other gun control bills introduced after the mass shooting at The Covenant School.
”After much input from members of the General Assembly and discussions with legislative leadership, we have decided to call a special session to continue our work to protect Tennessee communities and preserve constitutional rights,” Lee said in a statement. “There is broad agreement that dangerous, unstable individuals who intend to harm themselves or others should not have access to weapons. We also share a strong commitment to preserving Second Amendment rights, ensuring due process and addressing the heart of the problem with strengthened mental health resources.”
Richey argues in the letter that the special session would be a “publicity stunt.”
“Accordingly, your proposed special session, apparently calculated to pressure legislators to pass such a law, strikes us as an expensive, disruptive, futile, and counterproductive publicity stunt. The Covenant tragedy would not have been averted by a ‘red flag’ law in any event,” the letter says. “Your proposed special session is a solution in search of a problem. We can strengthen our criminal penalties and protect our people at any time. It does not require a special session, a session that will be a political event to put pressure on conservative Republicans to grow government and ignore the will of their constituents in service to the national woke mob that will descend on the Capitol. Press reports indicate that left-wing activists are planning to use the proposed special session to stage disruptive protests that will make the ‘Tennessee Three’ circus look like a dress rehearsal. Heavy security will be necessary to protect legislators from unruly agitators. Why would you want to provide a platform for such political theatre?”
The letter has been signed by three state representatives, including Richey, Rep. Ed Butler and Williamson County Rep. Todd Warner.
This is a developing story. Check back for updates.
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