After Texas shooting, Tennessee governor signs executive order to ‘harden’ schools, but no new gun regulations
As a response to the school shooting in Uvalde, Texas, last month, Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee has signed an executive order to ensure school safety measures are followed. The order will enforce laws that are already in place but avoids new gun restrictions.
Among the measures he signed, Gov. Lee wants all schools in the state to conduct an audit of their security measures, school districts to publish detailed safety plans and law enforcement to expand existing active shooter training.
Gun control advocates and Democrats in the state have called for new gun regulations, but Lee said that’s not on his agenda.
“We’re not looking at gun restriction laws in my administration right now. It’s one thing to remember: Criminals don’t follow laws,” said Lee at a press conference.
Democrats criticized the governor’s order as insufficient. Sen. Raumesh Akbari, D-Memphis, said the governor is playing “party politics.”
“We cannot continue to let gun industry lobbyists decide what’s best for public health and safety. It’s killing us,” said Akbari in an emailed statement. “I reject the notion that we are helpless against confronting gun violence.”
Rep. Brandon Ogles, R-Franklin, is an outlier in the Republican party. While he attended Monday’s press conference in support of Gov. Lee, he admits some gun regulations are needed — but his party isn’t there yet.
“I believe in federal requirements. I believe in strong background checks,” Ogles said. “And to the fact where somebody is declared mentally incompetent there needs to be discussion about access to firearms.”
This comes a day after a night club shooting in Chattanooga that left three dead, and more than a dozen injured. The city’s mayor, Tim Kelly, called for Congress to prohibit high-capacity magazines and put mandatory background checks in place.