Tennessee moves to protect gun firms in aftermath of school shooting
A law protecting gun and ammunition dealers, manufacturers and sellers against lawsuits in Tennessee has moved a step closer – just weeks after a school shooting in the state killed six people.
The Republican-controlled Senate voted 19-9 to send the bill, which spells out situations in which firearms companies are protected from being held liable in civil suits, to Republican Governor Bill Lee.
Two Democratic members were expelled – and since reinstated – following a gun control protest on the House floor which followed the shooting at Covenant School in Nashville which saw three nine-tear-old pupils among the dead.
Democratic Senator London Lamar said it is “disrespectful timing” to push through protections for gun companies while people continue to march at the Capitol for gun control changes.
Three Republicans voted against the legislation which passed just ahead of a protest in which people formed a human chain through Nashville to the Capitol in support of gun control measures.
It had passed the House ahead of the Covenant School shootings.
Bill sponsor Senator Joey Hensley said it was intended to “help businesses in this state that have chosen to come here, to give them a little civil liability”.
The firearm industry remains largely shielded from liability under federal law.
“There are people that we should be going out of way to protect this week,” said Nashville Senator Jeff Yarbro. “We’ve been receiving emails and calls, people are holding up signs, telling us to go out of our way to help those people.
“Not one of those signs says to protect the gun manufacturers.”