Apr 18, 2023 - News

Groundswell for gun reform continues

Anti-gun demonstrators at the Tennessee Capitol

Anti-gun demonstrators at the Tennessee Capitol earlier this month. Photo: John Amis/AFP via Getty Images

Three weeks after the mass shooting at The Covenant School, the push for a robust legislative response remains strong, with a series of massive protests and prominent supporters.

Driving the news: Tuesday, a new coalition that formed in the wake of the March 27 shooting is planning to form a three-mile "human chain" that stretches from Monroe Carell Jr. Children's Hospital at Vanderbilt, where some of the victims were taken, to the Capitol.

State of play: Brent Leatherwood, the president of the Southern Baptist Convention's Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission — who is also a Covenant School parent and former Tennessee Republican leader —urged lawmakers to rally around Gov. Bill Lee's proposal to keep guns away from "dangerous people."

Zoom in: Lee's plan would extend the existing order of protection law to allow law enforcement to take firearms away from people who are deemed a danger to themselves or others.

  • Details are still being debated by lawmakers. No legislation has been introduced.

Yes, but: Plans to end the session this week could mean an uphill climb for a new, sensitive piece of legislation.

What he's saying: In a letter to lawmakers, Leatherwood calls Lee's plan "a sensible proposal worthy of your immediate support."

  • "This proposal restrains evil," Leatherwood wrote. "Yes, it is true we live in a world tainted by terrible acts and deeds, but that is never an excuse for inaction. While it may not prevent every instance of this sort of violence, it will prevent some, and thereby save innocent lives."

Meanwhile: Former U.S. Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist joined others in a Tennessean opinion piece calling for "a commonsense, bipartisan agreement to reduce gun violence."


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