NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — Gun control defined last year’s session in Tennessee. Though thousands protested for more of it, no legislation was passed.

It’s expected to look similar this session.

“As far as Tennessee doing something to limit guns, we’re not going to do that,” House Republican Caucus Chairman Jeremy Faison (R-Cosby) said. “We believe in the Second Amendment, and we believe that our Constitution was written correctly. We’re not going to take guns from people.”

In fact, if anything happens, it might be to expand gun rights, not pull them back. Lawmakers are planning to revive a bill from special session to allow people to carry guns in schools.

“Whatever vehicle that is to get us to the point where kids can be protected in these schools, that’s what I’m going to be supportive of,” Rep. Chris Todd (R-Madison County) told News 2 back in September. “If it means running this bill again, I certainly will do that.”

Instead, Republicans are pushing for more mental health reform, particularly after a recent shooting at Belmont University left a young student dead.

“The Second Amendment in the Constitution is very clear about firearms and possession of firearms,” Lt. Gov. Randy McNally (R-Oak Ridge).

The suspect in the case was free even though he faced earlier charges of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon because he was ruled incompetent to stand trial.

“They shouldn’t be released just right back out into the community,” House Majority Leader William Lamberth (R-Portland) said. “For their safety and the safety of the community, that person should be committed. If they are committed, they absolutely should not be able to possess or purchase a firearm.”

It’s a change Democrats are in favor of.

“We have to deal with the fact that people are not safe at all from random gunfire. This is no longer a situation of, ‘It takes a good guy with a gun to stop a bad guy with a gun,’” Sen. Jeff Yarbro (D-Nashville) said. “None of that matters if you’re not even there, if you’re just being shot because you’re a bystander in a situation or you’re just driving your car.”

But after the deadly Covenant shooting last year, Democrats felt there was a chance to see some new laws through, though that didn’t happen.

“I expressed then to the Republican Leader, Speaker and the Governor that if we didn’t do it then, it’s going to be hard-pressed to get it done in an election year,” House Minority Leader Karen Camper (D-Memphis) said.


In an election year, lawmakers are less likely to vote against what their party tells them to so as to not anger their donors.