By: José Niño

Tennessee is one of the most pro-gun states in the United States. However, all of the progress it has made in the last few decades could potentially be going down the drain now that Tennessee Governor Bill Lee is embracing gun control in the wake of The Covenant School shooting.

This mass shooting saw 28-year-old Audrey Hale kill three children and three adults on April 3, 2023. On April 11, Lee signed an executive order to strengthen background checks. The executive order requires government functionaries and law enforcement to report all germane criminal and court mental health information to the state instant background check system within 72 hours of receiving the information. On top of that, the order gives the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation 60 days to submit a report highlighting several ways the current background check system could be improved.

Furthermore, Lee urged the state legislature to pass a “red flag” gun confiscation order that would allow law enforcement to confiscate firearms from individuals who allegedly pose a danger to themselves or others without any form of due process.

“I’m asking the General Assembly to bring forward an order of protection law,” Lee said to reporters in Nashville. “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.”

While Lee may have good intentions here, he is ultimately playing with fire. Red flag gun confiscation orders will allow Gun Control Inc. to take a major bite out of the US’s strong due process standards and allow individuals with an axe to grind to arbitrarily destroy gun owners’ gun rights that they don’t like. On top of that, gun controllers will be emboldened by the passage of such legislation. In reality, they will not be satisfied by even the most “sensible” of gun control compromises. These people are voracious and are playing for all the marbles here.

The gun controller’s endgame here is to destroy the right to bear arms. Passing gun control measures such as red flag gun confiscation orders are a pragmatic step towards this goal. As those who are acquainted with government intervention know, rolling back government growth is a tall order. As the great Milton Friedman once said, “Nothing is so permanent as a temporary government program.” Gun control encroachments like red flag orders could easily become permanent fixtures of state governments that pass them. Even worse, they could be launchpads for further gun control encroachments.

Lawmakers in Tennessee would be wise not even to entertain the idea of passing a red flag order. At a glance, the passage of red flag orders should be a non-starter in Tennessee’s Republican-dominated General Assembly. The State House (75-24 ) and the State Senate (27-6) would likely halt this legislation. However, Republicans can’t always be counted to fulfill their duty to abide by the Constitution.

As a result, gun owners in Tennessee must be ready to pick up the slack and put pressure on elected officials to ensure they don’t fall for the Siren Song of civilian disarmament. If Tennessee wants to remain one of the freest states in the Union, its political leaders must categorically reject Lee’s red flag proposal.

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.