ERPO bill effectively dead with governor dropping sponsorship

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NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — When Gov. Bill Lee (R-Tennessee) called his special session on public safety, he centered it around an extreme risk protection order – or red flag law – to keep guns out of the hands of dangerous people.

But after the General Assembly spurned his ideas, it won’t be coming back.

“I’m not looking to bring that bill,” Lee said. “I am looking for an opportunity in this next session to continue to work on public safety.”

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The news comes as a blow to Democrats, as many of them thought it was the best chance to pass some gun legislation moving forward.

“He has a supermajority that is unwilling to engage on that level,” Rep. Aftyn Behn (D-Nashville) said. “I think that he could use the people power that’s behind him in mobilizing him ahead of this session to put pressure on that Republican supermajority.”

When Lee announced the special session he also opened up a feedback form to ask what Tennesseans wanted.

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A vast majority wrote they wanted more gun restrictions. But instead, Lee said you could see a resurrection of other special session bills.

“The special session produced a lot of bills that I suspect we’re going to see again in the regular session to look at ways to provide a safer environment for people in Tennessee,” he said. “The General Assembly is very interested in that, we should never stop talking about public safety. I suspect we won’t.”

One of those resurrection bills will be one to arm teachers, and another will be to allow anyone with previous military experience to carry inside schools, too.

Both are ideas Democrats say will only exacerbate the problem.

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“People want change, right? Thoughts and prayers aren’t cutting it for the Tennessee people,” Behn said. “I challenge him to bring this forward again and he will have more people show up in support of him.”

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