Tennessee governor signs order tightening gun background checks
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Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee, a Republican, signed an executive order Tuesday to tighten the background check process in the state, citing recent “recent tragedies” like the Nashville shooting that left three children and three adults dead at a private religious school.
The executive order requires responsible parties to ensure that all criminal history and court mental health information is entered into the Tennessee Instant Check System or provided to the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation within 72 hours. The executive order also directs those entities to determine how the process for submitting such information can be improved, and report to the governor’s office and state legislature within 60 days.
Lee’s executive order said that “recent tragedies in Nashville and throughout our nation have demonstrated the devastating impact of firearms possession by those intending to cause harm to themselves or others and underscore the need for more effective instant background checks” and “effective instant background checks rely on information that is accurate, complete, and submitted in a timely manner.”
Lee has also called for state lawmakers to pass a so-called “red flag” law that would enable authorities to temporarily remove guns from people who might endanger themselves and others. While some GOP-led states have passed red flag laws, they remain polarizing among Republicans, some of whom view the laws as limiting individual rights without sufficient due process. After the 2018 shooting in Parkland, Florida, 18 states and D.C. implemented such laws, and a bipartisan gun control bill passed by Congress last year boosted federal funding to incentivize more states to enact their own versions.
State lawmakers in Tennessee have been under pressure to pass stricter gun laws, with protestors filling the state house chamber. GOP lawmakers voted to expel two of the Democratic legislators who joined the protests, one of whom has already been reinstated.