NASHVILLE, TN — On Monday, April 3, 2023, Governor Bill Lee unveiled his proposal to improve school safety following the shooting at Covenant School in Nashville. While the plan designates more than $170 million dollars to various proposals, it neglects any of the evidence-based gun safety legislation changes long advocated for by law enforcement, health professionals, and most Tennesseans such as background checks, safe storage laws and red-flag laws that would improve community safety.
Dr. Vidya Bansal, MD, FAAP said “Mental illness is not the sole cause of these mass shootings, and improving mental health access alone will not stop these school shootings. Mass shooting casualties in schools and public events have escalated in both frequency and volume since the lifting of the assault rifle ban (see chart). This is no coincidence; this is direct cause and effect. Firearms are now the number one leading cause of death of children in the United States. We are calling on elected officials to protect the health and wellbeing of children by adopting the majority-approved, common-sense, gun safety solutions.”
Dr. Amy Gordon Bono said: “We deserve leaders who will protect our children’s freedom to be safe in school, freedom to be safe at home, and the freedom of our children to be themselves. We want elected leaders who know our children’s worth and are willing to prove it by passing legislation to save their lives. Gov. Lee’s proposal to militarize our schools and increase mental health funding does not address the root cause of the problem: the lack of gun safety laws that would allow people’s 2nd amendment rights to gun ownership but not at the expense of everyone else’s right to live in safer communities with less gun violence.”
“Gun violence is the leading cause of death for children. Extreme Risk Protection Orders (“red flag laws”) are supported by law enforcement and many medical professional societies. Safe storage laws do not infringe upon individual freedom to have a gun – they protect the freedom of children to be safer.” said Dr. Bono.
Dr Katrina Green said, “We want elected leaders who know our children’s worth and are willing to prove it by passing legislation to save their lives. If gun violence were really related solely to mental health we would see more gun violence all over the world. But, the real problem is the ease of obtaining guns without any protections.
Reasonable gun owners and law enforcement agree with many of the gun safety measures physicians have been advocating for: fingerprint safety locks on every gun, safe storage laws, red flag laws, mandatory safety training, and extensive background checks for every gun purchase. Governor Lee: aren’t Tennessee children and families worthy of these common-sense gun safety laws that will help keep more of our children safe?”