(Daily Caller News Foundation) — The Tennessee Legislature kicked off a special session this week to potentially pass new gun reform legislation despite The Covenant School shooter’s manifesto still being withheld from the public.
Republican Gov. Bill Lee called for a special session on May 8 so state lawmakers could pass a slew of bills regarding gun access to protect “public safety,” following the March 27 shooting at the Christian academy in Nashville, according to a press release. The calls for further gun restrictions come even though transgender shooter Audrey Hale’s manifesto has not been released to the public and the motive for the attack remains unknown five months later.
Over 100 pieces of legislation have been filed for lawmakers to consider, including a bill requiring gun owners to sign an affidavit stating that their gun will be locked up when not being carried and another bill that would create a voluntary “do not sell firearms list” to individuals who have chosen to get treated for mental illness or emotional disturbance. A piece of legislation proposed by Democratic State Rep. Bob Freeman gives judges the ability to grant temporary protection orders forcing an individual deemed a threat after a hearing or mental evaluation to give up all firearms for up to 180 days.
Lee announced his support of legislation that restricted access to firearms following the shooting but did not receive the backing of his Republican colleagues, according to The New York Times. Republicans, who hold the majority in both chambers, are instead pushing laws that strengthen school security measures and others that would allow active and retired law enforcement and military members to carry while on school grounds, according to Knox News.
“Our highest priority is to ensure a safer, healthier and more prosperous future for all Tennesseans,” state House Majority Leader William Lamberth said in a statement to Knox News. “In pursuit of that goal, we welcome the opportunity to strengthen public safety and help those dealing with mental illness in this upcoming extraordinary session. These proposals will create additional layers of support in critical times when it is needed most.”
Hale killed six during the school shooting, including three children and three staff members before police killed Hale in a shootout. Law enforcement uncovered journals and writings documenting Hale’s plan to attack the school as well as several other potential locations, but told the Daily Caller News Foundation in a previous statement that the details of those documents would not be released until the investigation had concluded.
The manifesto’s fate is currently in the hands of the courts after several groups, including the Tennessee Firearms Association, filed suit to obtain the documents. The Covenant Presbyterian Church responded by filing a motion to halt the documents from being given to the public.
The Nashville police department, the governor’s office and the Tennessee GOP did not immediately respond to the DCNF’s request for comment.