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After Texas shooting, Tennessee governor signs executive order to 'harden' schools, but no new gun regulations

Governor Bill Lee signs executive order to ensure school safety orders are followed.
Governor Bill Lee signs executive order to ensure school safety orders are followed.

As a response to the school shooting in Uvalde, Texas, last month, Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee has signed an executive order to ensure school safety measures are followed. The order will enforce laws that are already in placebutavoidsnew gun restrictions.

Among the measures he signed, Gov. Lee wants all schools in the state to conduct an audit of their security measures, school districts to publish detailed safety plans and law enforcement to expand existing active shooter training. 

Gun control advocates and Democrats in the state have called for new gun regulations, but Lee said that’s not on his agenda. 

“We’re not looking at gun restriction laws in my administration right now. It’s one thing to remember: Criminals don’t follow laws,” said Lee at a press conference.

Democrats criticized the governor’s order as insufficient. Sen. Raumesh Akbari, D-Memphis, said the governor is playing “party politics.”

“We cannot continue to let gun industry lobbyists decide what’s best for public health and safety. It’s killing us,” said Akbari in an emailed statement. “I reject the notion that we are helpless against confronting gun violence.”

Rep. Brandon Ogles, R-Franklin, is an outlier in the Republican party. While he attended Monday’s press conference in support of Gov. Lee, headmits somegun regulations are needed — but his party isn’t there yet.

“I believe in federal requirements. I believe in strong background checks,” Ogles said. “And to the fact where somebody is declared mentally incompetent there needs to be discussion about access to firearms.”

This comes a day after a night club shooting in Chattanooga that left three dead, and more than a dozen injured. The city’s mayor, Tim Kelly, called for Congress to prohibit high-capacity magazines and put mandatory background checks in place.

Copyright 2022 WPLN News. To see more, visit WPLN News.

Blaise Gainey is a Political Reporter for WPLN News. He is the youngest of three siblings, husband and father of two. He previously held the State Government Reporter position for WFSU News in Tallahassee. He is from Apopka, Fla., and graduated from The School of Journalism at the Florida A&M University. He previously worked for The Florida Channel and WTXL-TV. He is excited to move to another capital and report on state government. In his spare time, he enjoys watching sports, outdoor activities and enjoying family time.
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