NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — Now just a week out from special session, we’re getting an idea of a few bills that are gaining traction.
The first is one from House Majority Leader William Lamberth (R-Portland). It would require schools to train teachers and students how to respond to an active shooter threat in addition to a fire threat.
“It’s starting to become obvious to some of these killers that if the alarm goes off, the hallways will be flooded with children. We don’t ever want that to happen,” Lamberth said. “We want to make sure that if an alarm goes off that everybody is thinking, ‘Is this a fire? Is this an active shooter? Is this a tornado or something else? Is this a natural disaster.’”
The Senate Republican Caucus released a list of its initiatives Monday morning, including one to increase the penalty for threatening mass violence from a misdemeanor to a felony.
“I think that takes the guns out of somebody who has a screw loose, you might say,” Lt. Gov. Randy McNally (R-Oak Ridge) said.
Though Democrats are cautiously supportive or have no opinion of those bills as they currently stand, tensions continue to boil, especially over the accusation that Republicans are using the special session to jam through harmful legislation in a matter of days.
“Governor Bill Lee obviously worked with extremist legislators to craft this proclamation,” House Democratic Caucus Chairman John Ray Clemmons (D-Nashville) said. “What he did was close the door on any real gun safety legislation.”
The move comes after Lowe posted on Facebook encouraging the McMinn County Republican Party to show up to the Democrats’ next bus stop at the county seat of Athens, and to ‘give them an accurate sampling of what district one values.’
Though Clemmons points out Lowe tweeted that the senator expressly invited them on Aug. 3rd.
“They just want to put out all this misinformation, try to get people riled up and say, ‘Democrats want to take all your guns,’” Clemmons said. “Well, it’s hogwash.”
Lowe responded to Clemmons’s tweet by saying he was encouraging discourse and, “If you don’t want a good sample of the district there, just say so. just say it’s a Democrat-only rally.”
In a text to WKRN State Capitol reporter Chris O’Brien, Lowe had this response:
I responded to him (Clemmons) but here are the facts.:
8/3- legislative democrats announce a bus tour to “hear from the people” of Tennessee.
8/3- I invite them to the district and commit to having a good sampling come to hear from.
8/11- I discover they are coming to Athens on 8/17 so, as promised, I encourage “all citizens” to come out and hear from them.
8/14- the democrats launch the statewide SMEAR SENATOR LOWE Twitter campaign alleging intimidation.
Why are they intimidated by all people? Because they need to perform uninterrupted for the cameras. Tennessee does not support their policies but they want to create the illusion that they do.
Show up. We will civilly attempt discourse. I am sure the next few days will be continued efforts to attack me personally but it isn’t about me. It’s about you, your family, your rights, and real solutions for safety.