Governor Bill Lee of our great state of Tennessee has used the power granted to him by Article III, Section 9 of our Constitution to call the General Assembly into "special session", legally known as "extraordinary session", on August 21.
The Constitutional article referenced above is short: "He may, on extraordinary occasions, convene the General Assembly by proclamation, in which he shall state specifically the purposes for which they are to convene; but they shall enter on no legislative business except that for which they were specifically called together."
Lee has wisely used this power to summon the Tennessee Senate and House of Representatives back to Nashville to focus on gun safety. The Senate and House of Representatives are collectively known as the "General Assembly".
There was some unfortunate drama at the conclusion of the regular session of the General Assembly this past spring. Three Democratic representatives disrupted a regular session of the chamber by leading demonstrators who were calling for more gun safety laws. Two were expelled, and both were temporarily reappointed to their respective seats by the legislative bodies in Shelby and Davidson counties, respectively.
The national Democratic party grabbed some headlines by calling the three representatives "The Tennessee Three", and the reps were invited to the White House by President Joe Biden.
That is fine, but Democrats have little say about what happens in our state legislature these days. Republicans have a "super majority" in both houses of the General Assembly and pretty much rule the course of action.
Let's get the grandstanding out of the way and proceed to the real issue at hand. Guns themselves are not the problem, and they are protected by the Second Amendment of the United States Constitution and high court decisions which have interpreted said Second Amendment.
"Red flag" laws are likely constitutional. Polls show that most Tennesseans favor some sort of gun reform that would pass constitutional scrutiny and keep firearms out of dangerous hands.
Bill Lee is a fine gentleman, a Christian, and a great business-oriented governor for Tennessee. His ability to ramrod controversial legislation through a General Assembly controlled by his own party remains somewhat untested. Lee did well for us during the choppy waters of the COVID-19 pandemic, and the restrictions on business and personal liberty ended with action from the General Assembly.
Lee is far from a legislative mastermind, but he commands a lot of respect from senators and representatives. His proclamation for an extraordinary session of the legislature is well-taken, and everyone needs to speak up and make their voice heard.
James A. Rose, Publisher