Politics /

Tennessee's Republican Governor Signs Executive Order Strengthening Background Checks For Firearm Purchases

The order upgrades the state's existing background check process, which is separate from the federal background check

Gov. Bill Lee, a Republican, has signed an executive order to strengthen Tennessee’s systems used for background checks for individuals seeking to purchase a firearm.

The executive action was in response to a recent shooting by a transgender person who slaughtered six people in a mass shooting at the Covenant School in Nashville.

The order will require departments that report information to the Tennessee Instant Check System (TICS) to provide all relevant information (ie: domestic violence convictions, criminal history, orders of protection, and mental health adjudications) within 72 hours of the entity’s receipt of that information.

“The existing background-check process for purchasing a firearm only works when there is accurate and timely information that’s available,” Lee said at a press conference, The Tennessean reported.

Additionally, the order requires courts to “timely submit” relevant information into the database.

The third provision in Lee’s order requires the Tennessee Bureau of Investigators (TBI) to send a report to the governor and speakers of the state House and Senate identifying any barriers to complete, accurate, and timely reporting of information accessible in the system.

Lee told reporters during the press conference he is asking the state legislature to to enact new laws on restraining orders.

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

The order comes as fresh attention is placed on mass shootings, following the Nashville incident, as well as a mass shooting at a bank in Louisville, Kentucky, which left five dead and eight injured.

Last year, Tennessee officials issued 67,385 handgun carry permits, while authorities suspended 1,843 permits, revoked 943 permits, and denied 1,648 permits, according to government data.

Days after the Covenant School shooting, Lee floated a proposal that would better protect schools, including placing an armed guard at every state public school and providing grants for private schools to do the same, The Tennessean reported.

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