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GIFFORDS Applauds Governor Lee’s Executive Order, Calls for Extreme Risk Law

Southern Republican Governor’s Actions Demonstrate the Shifting Political Environment

Washington DC —GIFFORDS, the gun violence prevention organization led by former Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, lauded Tennessee Governor Bill Lee’s newly announced actions to address gun violence endangering Tennesseans. The Governor signed an executive order focused on strengthening background checks for firearm purchases, and has also called for lawmakers to pass an order of protection law to keep guns away from dangerous individuals.

Former Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords:

“Moms and dads in every part of the country want to know their children are safe at school. I applaud the Tennessee Three and the community of Nashville for their relentless advocacy for gun safety, as well as Gov. Bill Lee for showing that keeping kids safe should not be a partisan issue. This country would be so much better off if Republicans and Democrats could unite behind commonsense ideas to keep firearms away from those who seek to do harm. There is more work to be done in Tennessee and around the country, but implementing these policies would be a meaningful step in the right direction.”

Peter Ambler, GIFFORDS Executive Director:

“Republican leaders are realizing that the country has changed. The gun politics of the 90s and early 2000s are gone forever. Young people, suburban parents, and even gun owners are demanding that politicians of both parties stand up to the gun lobby and protect our kids. There is a lot that divides Americans today, but we all agree that too many Americans senselessly lose their lives to gun violence. The people want leaders to act.”

GIFFORDS is also urging Governor Lee to work with the Tennessee legislature to ensure the law they pass is strong. After the Covenant school shooting in Nashville, GIFFORDS called on elected officials in Tennessee to pass an extreme risk law, noting that Tennessee recently applied for and received more than $6 million from the Department of Justice’s Byrne State Crisis Intervention Program that can be used to implement such a law. 

Research is clear that extreme risk laws can serve as a critical tool to prevent mass shootings. Recent research shows that these orders have been used to intervene in cases of threatened mass shootings more than 662 times in just six states. Additionally, a study conducted by GIFFORDS Law Center examined how these orders were used in Florida in the year after the Republican-controlled legislature signed an extreme risk law: within just one county, extreme risk protection orders were used to intervene in more than 250 cases where credible threats of violence were made over a twelve month period. Other reporting suggests that in the nearly six years since Florida’s extreme risk law was passed, these orders have been used more than 9,000 times across the state. 


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