Lawmakers in the Volunteer State this week gave Gov. Bill Lee's call for a controversial "red flag" gun seizure law a thumbs down. 

The Tennessee General Assembly, of which 102 of the 132 voting members are Republicans, adjourned its special session on gun control Tuesday, and while legislators proposed no less than 474 bills and resolutions, only three measures gained enough support to go to the governor's desk. Of these, just one, Senate Bill 7085/House Bill 7012, has anything to do with guns, and it only moves to exempt the retail sale of firearm safes and safety devices from sales taxes starting in November. 

Lee, a Republican who called for the Assembly to pass a red flag law as far back as April, had proclaimed the special session earlier this month, giving lawmakers marching orders that included considering "Temporary mental health orders of protection." His call for simplified firearm seizures was echoed and amplified by all the big-name anti-gun groups including Brady, Everytown, and Giffords. 

After the session's failure to even come close to passing such a bill, the governor claimed a sort of victory anyway. 

"We have a rising crime problem in this country," said Lee in a statement that neglected a single word of reference to his red flag law. "It is one of the most complex issues that we face, but the goal should be simple: Tennesseans want to live in a safe neighborhood. That is why I called the special session. That’s why we worked with the General Assembly for months to bring forth ideas and suggestions that they might have ways to make our state safer."


Gun rights advocates in the state took the win in stride but cautioned that constitutionally protected Second Amendment rights were still in the crosshairs moving forward. 

"While the Legislature did not pass a Red Flag law in the Special Session, there is no comfort to be had in the assumption that this issue as finally resolved with a permanent 'not in my state and not on my watch,'" said the Tennessee Firearms Association in a statement. "Too many Legislators are apparently willing to consider gun control including Red Flag laws."

The Assembly will reconvene for its next session in January 2024.

Banner image: S&W M&P-15 rifle being assembled. Smith & Wesson is building a new factory in Maryville, Tennessee, scheduled to open next month. (Photo: Chris Eger/

revolver barrel loading graphic