By: José Niño

Three Tennessee state representatives — Bryan Richey, Ed Butler, and Todd Warner — signed a letter at the end of May calling on Gov. Bill Lee (R-TN) to cancel a special legislative session dealing with public safety.

Richey drafted the letter, which urged Lee to “abandon the special session” slated for August 21. This special session came in response to the Covenant School shooting “because the General Assembly can further consider and discuss legitimate measures to improve public safety when the legislature reconvenes in January 2024,” the letter noted.

“Summoning legislators to Nashville to enact an unconstitutional ‘red flag’ law will not, as you suggest, ‘strengthen public safety and preserve constitutional rights,” Richey declared in the letter. “To the contrary, the General Assembly adamantly opposes and has refused to enact measures that violate Tennesseans’ Second Amendment rights, whether styled ‘order of protection’ legislation or any other euphemism.”

In the letter, Richey contended that the special session would be a “publicity stunt.”

“Accordingly, your proposed special session, apparently calculated to pressure legislators to pass such a law, strikes us as an expensive, disruptive, futile, and counterproductive publicity stunt. The Covenant tragedy would not have been averted by a ‘red flag’ law in any event,” the letter highlighted. “Your proposed special session is a solution in search of a problem. We can strengthen our criminal penalties and protect our people at any time. It does not require a special session, a session that will be a political event to put pressure on conservative Republicans to grow government and ignore the will of their constituents in service to the national woke mob that will descend on the Capitol. Press reports indicate that left-wing activists are planning to use the proposed special session to stage disruptive protests that will make the ‘Tennessee Three’ circus look like a dress rehearsal. Heavy security will be necessary to protect legislators from unruly agitators. Why would you want to provide a platform for such political theatre?”

Over the last decade Tennessee has moved in a markedly pro-gun direction. Since passing Constitutional Carry in 2021, Tennessee has emerged as one of the most pro-gun states in the nation. According to Guns & Ammo magazine’s best states for gun owners rankings, Tennessee finds itself in a respectable 12th place.

However, all of that progress could go to waste if Republicans in the state legislature capitulate to Gun Control Inc. Thankfully, there are organizations like the National Association for Gun Rights who are ready to oppose anti-gun measures being proposed by the political class. President of NAGR Dudley Brown sounded off against Governor Lee’s attempt to sell out gun owners in Tennessee:

“Further restriction of Second Amendment rights passed in any session threatens law-abiding Tennesseans and will be vehemently opposed by National Association for Gun Rights. Governor Lee should reverse course and stop aligning his anti-gun policies with the likes of Joe Biden.”

Overall, Republicans, like any other set of politicians, must always be surveilled by the voters. They can’t be let off the hook just because they have an “R” beside their names. In fact, Republicans have a history of occasionally betraying their constituencies on key issues such as gun rights.

To ensure that Republicans hold the line in Tennessee, gun owners in the state must be relentless when it comes to pressuring them to do the right thing. In the fight to restore gun rights, complacency is never an option.

José Niño is a freelance writer based in Austin, Texas. Contact him via Facebook, Twitter, or email him at [email protected]. Get his e-book, The 10 Myths of Gun Control, here.