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Tennessee lawmakers split on ‘red flag’ laws; Gov. Lee not discussing gun restrictions by: Chelsea Beimfohr

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — On Wednesday, families of victims and survivors of the mass shootings in Uvalde and in Buffalo, New Yorktestified on Capitol Hill.

“I came because I could’ve lost my baby girl,” a Uvalde father told lawmakers.

Many Americans now begging for stricter gun control, universal background checks, banning assault weapons, and red flag laws, which allow certain people to petition a court to have firearms taken away from someone they consider to be a threat.

State representative Vincent Dixie (D-Nashville) said he thinks red flag laws would help keep Tennesseans safer. “Red flag laws will keep people who do not need to have guns from having them. That’s one thing that’s needed. But we also have to do something about the illegal guns on the streets as well.”

Dixie added he’d like to see the permitless carry law repealed and tighter gun regulations overall.

“We definitely need to register each gun. We need to know who has guns and they need to know how to use them,” Dixie said.

On the other side of the aisle, many Republican lawmakers disagree. Some even calling red flag laws unconstitutional. In a statement sent to News 2, Representative Jeremy Faison (R-Cosby) questioned the effectiveness of red flag laws:

“From my perspective, red flag laws appear unconstitutional or ineffective. Forcibly taking someone’s gun from their house without due process creates a hostile environment for law enforcement and potentially criminalizes law abiding citizens. I am interested in how we can better equip our local schools and how we can do better with mental illness.”

On Monday, Governor Bill Lee signed an executive order aimed at strengthening school safety in Tennessee, but it didn’t mention anything about guns. He went on to tell reporters that he currently has no plans to talk about gun reform.

“We’re not looking at gun restriction laws in my administration right now,” Lee said.

Dixie said the governor needs to take a stronger stance. “I think this executive order was extremely weak and I think it puts more work on people that are already strained and stressed in their daily jobs.”

Right now, there are 19 states with red flag laws on their books, including California, Colorado, and Florida.

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