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Representative calls for special session to address TN gun laws

Published: May. 26, 2022 at 8:42 AM CDT
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NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WSMV) - A Nashville Democratic representative is calling on the legislature to hold a special session in response to the Texas school shooting.

Representative John Ray Clemmons says he wants to see immediate action here in our state to rework gun permissions.

On Wednesday, Rep. Clemmons called on Governor Bill Lee and other lawmakers to lower the flags to half-mast to stand with Uvalde, cancel their trips to the NRA convention and withhold any state funding they are using to attend it.

Rep. Clemmons wants the governor to freeze open carry laws and to call a special session to address issues with mental health care and repeal certain gun laws.

He says that Tennessee is among the national leader in firearm mortality rates, pointing to data that from 2010-2019 the rate of gun deaths in the state increased by 28% compared to a national rate of 17%.

An annual report released by the Department of Education in February shows during that during the 2019-2020 school year, Tennessee schools documented 66 incidents of students possessing a handgun and 11 incidents of them bringing in a rifle or shot gun.

The numbers fell the following year with the pandemic.

The report also says that Tennessee has more than 1300 school resource officers, with half assigned to elementary schools.

Rep. Clemmons says people in the state want to see their public officials stand up against the gun violence we’ve seen.

“I’m not here speaking to capitalize on some tragedy or to try and seek some public attention,” Rep. Clemmons explained. “What I do hope to do is to join advocates and the people across the state of tn and this country who believe enough is enough.”

Tennessee’s open carry law was passed in 2021 and expanded this year.

Neither speaker Cameron Sexton nor Governor Lee have hinted at a special meeting for guns being in the works.

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