Tennessee’s Gov. Bill Lee (R) this week called for the state legislature to pass a red flag law. This decision, coming just over two weeks after the tragic Nashville Christian school shooting, raises questions about the effectiveness of such laws and their impact on the Second Amendment.
Red flag laws emerged in 1999 when Connecticut became the inaugural state to adopt one. However, this law did not prevent the horrifying Sandy Hook Elementary School attack in 2012. Likewise, despite being ranked as the top state for gun control in California, the gun violence restraining order legislation signed by Gov. Jerry Brown (D) in 2014 did not halt the rise of “active shooter incidents.”
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Despite the questionable track record of these laws, Lee is determined to push for a red flag law in Tennessee. In a statement, he expressed his belief that “a new, strong order of protection law will provide the broader population cover, safety, from those who are a danger to themselves or the population.” However, it’s worth noting that a red flag law would not have stopped the Nashville school shooting, as neither the police nor the shooter’s family knew her intentions to commit violence. Furthermore, she had purchased her guns legally and had no criminal record, making her difficult to identify as a threat.
Lee has called for a red flag law and signed an executive order strengthening background checks for gun purchases. This order sets a 72-hour period for reporting new criminal activity. It mandates that courts submit timely and accurate information to the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation.
Additionally, the order requires the agency to examine the current process for purchasing firearms. While some GOP states like Florida and Indiana have embraced red flag laws, the move faces significant opposition in Tennessee, a staunchly conservative state with leaders resistant to perceived limitations on gun rights.
Despite the opposition, Lee has held meetings with legislative leaders to discuss the feasibility of enacting an order-of-protection law, allowing law enforcement to seek court orders to confiscate firearms from those deemed dangerous. Currently, 19 states and the District of Columbia have passed similar legislation with bipartisan support.
As conservatives, it is essential to question the effectiveness of these red flag laws and the threat they pose to the fundamental right to bear arms enshrined in the Second Amendment. By moving toward a system that empowers the government to confiscate firearms from individuals, the possibility of undermining citizens’ right to self-defense becomes ever more real. Therefore, it is crucial for those who cherish the Second Amendment to remain vigilant and ensure that any new legislation does not infringe upon the constitutionally protected rights of law-abiding citizens.