Apr 7, 2023 - News

Nashville mayor, activist groups call for gun reform

Protesters at the Tennessee State Capitol yesterday. Photo: Seth Herald/Getty Images

At the same time the Tennessee House conducted its hearing to expel two representatives, national activist groups and Nashville Mayor John Cooper held a media event to call for stricter gun laws in Tennessee.

What he's saying: Cooper and the activist groups specifically called for an extreme risk law, also known as a red flag law, that prevents people in mental distress from owning or purchasing guns.

  • John Feinblatt, president of Everytown for Gun Safety, said during the press conference that "when three 9-year-olds are killed, we shouldn't be arguing about decorum. We should be asking ourselves how to stop history from repeating itself."

Details: Feinblatt said 19 states, including red states like Florida and Indiana, have adopted such laws.

  • Extreme risk laws give family members and law enforcement the power to ask a judge to temporarily remove guns from someone who is a potential danger to themselves or others. He said those laws vary from state to state, but all allow for due process before guns are removed.
  • After passing its law, gun suicides dropped 14% in Connecticut, Feinblatt said.

Zoom in: Cooper echoed Feinblatt, saying, "We need to turn our grief into action."

  • Cooper argued that Nashville's last three mass shootings, including the Waffle House and Antioch church shootings, could have been prevented by an extreme risk law, since the shooters in all three incidents had previously displayed mental health issues.
  • An extreme risk law may have some momentum in the state legislature. Lt. Gov. Randy McNally, a Republican, reiterated to reporters at a press briefing Thursday he is receptive to a similar law in Tennessee.
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