Following the mass shootings in Texas and Ohio, Gov. Bill Lee said his administration will weigh legislation that would address the issue of gun violence.
But he's not ready to offer specific solutions without first taking a "deeper look" at the issue.
“I am a person who looks at options and considers the landscape that we are living in, and what it is that I believe would be the most effective way to protect citizens’ rights but protect our citizens at the same time," Lee told reporters Monday.
Lee says he’s not ready to make a final decision on one much-discussed proposal to prevent shootings, a “red-flag” law. Such a measure would allow firearms to be temporarily removed from owners posing a threat to themselves or others.
In recent years, red-flag legislation has failed in Tennessee but 17 other states currently have them on the books.
"I haven't analyzed [red-flag laws] yet, but it's early for us to talk about which direction we want to go," Lee said. "But we want to take action."
The measure has been pushed by multiple organizations, including the Safe Tennessee Project. At a rally on the steps of the Tennessee State Capitol yesterday, Beth Joslin Roth, the policy director of the organization, said the legislature has failed to take steps that could save lives.
“Yes, bad guys will still find ways to get their hands on guns," Roth told about 50 people gathered. "But, why do we make it so easy for them to do so? Why is there such resistance to trying to make it difficult?”
This year, the Tennessee General Assembly discussed multiple bills that would have prevented certain people from having a gun. One measure (HB1447/SB0865) would have required handgun carry holders convicted of domestic assault to surrender their permit. It stalled in committee.
Meanwhile, state lawmakers passed a bill (HB1264/SB0705) that creates a new concealed carry permit. Under the new law, signed by Lee in May, applicants will soon be able to skip in-person training as long as they watch a 90-minute video and pass a test.