JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (WJHL) — Northeast Tennessee lawmakers said while the thousands of protesters who assembled at the State Capitol in Nashville on Thursday had the right to be heard, their tactics went too far.
“Your voice deserves to be heard, but there’s a way to be heard and then a way to be ignored,” said Rep. Jeremy Faison (R-Cosby), the majority caucus chairman.
Sen. Jon Lundberg (R-Bristol) expressed a similar concern.
“In my mind, you lose your ability to protest when you’re just yelling and screaming,” Lundberg told News Channel 11. “You lose your ability to communicate. “
Northeast Tennessee lawmakers say no law could have prevented the shooting at the Covenant School Monday.
“You have someone who was sick and deranged, and clearly had issues that we can’t comprehend,” said Lundberg, referring to the shooter. “Is that based on the policies that we set? No, that’s an unfair statement or question.”
Both Lundberg and Faison are working to prevent future tragedies, but Lundberg isn’t sold on gun control as a solution.
“I wish we could switch this conversation around take a look at what we’ve done school safety-wise in Tennessee over the past number of years,” said Lundberg.
He’s co-sponsoring a bill that would require local education agencies to share safety plans with local and state law enforcement and require school resource officers at all public schools. It could also remove funding from schools that fail to keep their exterior doors locked.
The bill was initially scheduled to be taken up by the Senate Education Committee, but Lundberg said lawmakers postponed it to next week in light of the shooting Monday.
“We said, let’s give it a little more time, see if there’s anything else we need to put on the table,” Lundberg said.
Faison says he’s working on a bill to prevent those ruled mentally unstable from buying guns.
But he would not support a red flag law, which allows law enforcement to limit access to firearms if they’re deemed a threat to themselves or others.