Nashville’s mayor joined Tennessee gun control advocates in calling for an extreme risk protection law on Thursday. Often called a red flag law, the measure would keep guns out of the hands of people who are a risk to themselves or others.
Mayor John Cooper said that a law like that could have prevented the last three mass shootings in Nashville — the Covenant School shooting, the Waffle House shooting in 2018 and a church shooting in 2017.
In each case, family members or even law enforcement expressed concern over the mental health of the assailants. Yet, there are very few options under state law to take someone’s guns away temporarily.
“Here in Tennessee, we do have some of the weakest gun laws in the country — which means that the answer to too many guns just can’t be more guns,” Cooper said.
More: How Tennessee became one of the most gun-friendly states before the Covenant School shooting
He called on conservative lawmakers to change their approach.
“The victims of the tragedy deserve an answer,” Cooper said. “And Republican lawmakers need to be part of the answer.”
Cooper said a red flag law would be a commonsense measure, and he’s encouraged by indications that Republican lawmakers might be open to the idea in the wake of the Covenant School shooting.
“I’m cautiously optimistic,” Cooper said. “There has to be a better answer than no answer.”
Also on Thursday, Nashville Democrat Sen. Heidi Campbell and Rep. Bob Freeman filed a bill in the House for a red flag law, but without Republican support, it has little chance of passing.