HomeNewsTensions rise during bus stop regarding gun legislation

Tensions rise during bus stop regarding gun legislation

State Representatives Bo Mitchell (D-Nashville) and John Ray Clemmons (D-Nashville) spearheaded a bus tour across the state last week to garner support for stricter gun laws in the wake of the shooting at Covenant Christian School in March.

The shooting left six people dead, including three children.

Gov. Bill Lee has called for a special legislative session in which the state house and senate address issues regarding gun registration and possession of firearms by people with mental illness.

About 100 people were gathered at their stop in Jackson on Aug. 10 on Shannon Street at The AMP. About 30 of those estimated 100 were representative of the local Republican Party, local conservative group We the People and supporters of the Second Amendment that oppose laws limiting who can own a gun.

Conversation between the groups got loud for a few minutes.

“We need laws that take AR-15 assault rifles and other military-grade weapons off the streets and out of the hands of people who have no business with them,” Mitchell said, which garnered cheers of support from those in support of increased gun legislation, mostly from the local chapters of the Democratic Party.

“There it is, people, they’re coming for our guns,” said Trey Cleek, a former Madison County Commissioner and official in the county chapter of the Republican Party.

Cleek’s comment sparked a conversation between the two groups that was heated at first but then quieted to simple conversations between people who have the same goals but have different methods of achieving those goals.

“We want the same things, but we just have very different ways of making that happen,” Clemmons said to Madison Countian Karl Snider after the two had a discussion for a few minutes in which Snider questioned how effective increased gun legislation would be when increased and stricter laws regarding drugs haven’t solved the drug problem in the country.

“You can make all the laws you want against drugs, but people are still dying from drug addictions and overdoses every day,” Snider said. “So what makes you think taking guns from law-abiding citizens will suddenly make everyone safer?”

Clemmons said it’s not the goal of anyone supporting the red flag laws to take guns from the citizens of Tennessee, other than to possibly make sure anyone diagnosed with mental illness don’t have access to guns for their own safety and the safety of others.

“The majority of Tennesseans, including the Governor, side with us on this issue,” Mitchell said about the proposed legislation. “We’re not interested in taking anyone’s guns, but we also know that too many children are dying because of gun violence that could be avoided if we took the steps to avoid it.

“That’s all we’re trying to do with this.”

Brandon Shields, brandon@jacksonpost.news

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