Special Session

Special Session Legislation

The Tennessee General Assembly held a special session August 21st – August 29th 2023, called by Governor Bill Lee after the tragic mass school shooting at The Covenant School where 3 children and 3 staff members were murdered. This was an important first step for our legislature to acknowledge the public health crisis of gun violence in our state, as firearms remain the #1 killer of children.

114 bills were introduced by the house with 109 having senate companion bills for the special session. Many of the bills proposed had potential to create meaningful change in our state. However, only three bills were passed by both the house and senate to be written into law. We are grieved by the lack of progress made for firearm safety in Tennessee, as every day without safer laws leaves our communities at risk.
Prior to the special session Covenant Families for Brighter Tomorrows reviewed all bills with research analysts and chose select bills to focus on and endorse as well as bills to oppose that had potential for harm. CFBTAF had 60+ legislative meetings over the summer and worked closely with legislators for bills involving violence prevention, firearm safety, improved mental health initiatives, school safety, and some bills specific to our Covenant School community.

Multiple parents from CFBT testified in committee hearings sharing their experiences as well as reading prepared statements on behalf of victim families and staff members. These were extremely impactful in house committees and would have undoubtedly been powerful in the senate as well had they not closed their committees preventing the majority of bills from being heard.

We will not lose hope, this is just the start. We have seen the power of our voices and the impact they have, despite being raw in trauma. We are continuing to work with both state and federal legislators to drive change. We believe we can cultivate an environment of respect and responsibility to act within the legislature while upholding the constitution. We look forward to January when many bills will be brought back in session.

Bill Review

CFBTAF Endorsed & Supported Bills Written into Law​
  • HB7012/SB7085As introduced, directs the dept of safety to provide free firerarm locks to Tennessee residents upon request; requires department-approved handgun safety courses to contain instruction on the safe storage of firearms; exempts the retail sale of firearm safes and firearm safety devices from sales and use taxes beginning November 1, 2023; defines firearm safes and firearm safety devices.

    • House sponsor: William Lamberth, Senate sponsor: Jack Johnson

  • HB7013/SB7086: As introduced, changes from 30 days to 72 hours the time frame within which a clerk of the circuit or general sessions court must notify the TBI of the final disposition of criminal proceedings against a person after final disposition of such proceedings; requires the clerk to notify the TBI of the final disposition of such proceedings by electronic submission; requires the clerk of the municipal court, when exercising concurrent general sessions court jurisdiction, to notify the TBI by electronic submission of the final disposition of such proceedings against a person no later than 72 hours after final disposition of such proceedings.

    • House sponsor: William Lamberth, Senate sponsor: Jack Johnson

  • HB7002/SB7001: As introduced, requires each LEA, public charter school, private school, and church-related school to develop a policy to direct how students, teachers, substitute teachers, and staff are to respond when a fire alarm is activated on school premises outside of a scheduled fire drill to protect students, teachers, substitute teachers, and staff in the event the fire alarm was activated due to the presence of an active shooter on school premises
    • House sponsor: William Lamberth, Senate Sponsor: Ferrell Haile
    • Passed in house, not heard in senate
  • HB7007/SB7090As introduced, specifies that reports of county medical examiners and autopsy reports of victims of violent crime who are minors are not public documents; allows a parent or legal guardian of a minor victim of a violent crime to consent to the release of the report of the county medical examiner or autopsy report of the minor victim if the parent or legal guardian is not a suspect in the circumstances of the minor’s death.
    • House sponsor: William Lamberth, Senate sponsor: Jack Johnson
    • Passed in house, not heard in senate
  • HB7037/SB7012: As introduced, requires that, by 10/1/24, the bureau enter each final disposition of criminal proceedings received by the bureau into the national crime information center & any other databases maintained by the bureau for the purpose of criminal history record checks within 30 days of the bureau’s receipt of the disposition from a court clerk.

    • House sponsor: Anthony Davis, Senate sponsor: Jeff Yarbro

  • HB7047/SB7011: As introduced, creates a Class E felony of threatened mass violence for the reckless handling, display, or discharge of a firearm while operating, or as a passenger in, a motor vehicle.

    • House sponsor: Anthony Davis, Senate sponsor: Jeff Yarbro

  • HB7054/SB7083: As introduced, exempts a person from civil liability for damages, injuries, or death resulting from or arising out of the theft of the person’s firearm that is properly stored in the person’s motor vehicle unless the person commits an offense involving the use of the stored firearm or intentionally solicits or procures the conduct resulting in damage, injury, or death.

    • House sponsor: Jeremy Faison, Senate sponsor: Ferrell Haile

  • HB7067/SB7012: As introduced, authorizes the department to conduct a pilot program to provide certain mental health services to service recipients upon discharge from an inpatient facility following an involuntary commitment; requires the department to submit a report to the general assembly following the end of each fiscal year during which the pilot program is conducted.

    • House sponsor: Darren Jernigan, Senate sponsor: Jeff Yarbro

  • HB7074/SB7044: As introduced, encourages lawful owners and possessors of firearms to store guns safely in a locked compartment; with a trigger locking device; or with a locked device rendering the firearm inaccessible to a person other than the owner or person in lawful possession of the firearm and immovable from the stored location.

    • House sponsor: Bob Freeman, Senate sponsor: Charlane Oliver

  • HB7098/SB7026: As introduced, requires the department to establish the Tennessee voluntary do not sell firearms list to prohibit the possession, transportation, and sale of firearms to any person who is voluntarily admitted to a public or private hospital or treatment resource for diagnosis, observation, and treatment of a mental illness or serious emotional disturbance and voluntarily registers to be enrolled to the list.

    • House sponsor: Sabi ‘Doc’ Kumar, Senate sponsor: Joey Hensley

  • HB7100/SB7029: As introduced, establishes a process for law enforcement to petition a circuit court for a temporary mental health order of protection for a person who poses a significant danger of causing personal injury to themselves or others by having a firearm.

    • House sponsor: Bob Freeman, Senate sponsor: Jeff Yarbro

  • HB7064/SB2020: As introduced, allows law enforcement officers, whether on-duty or off-duty, retired law enforcement officers, active duty and retired members of the armed forces of the United States, whether in discharge of official duties or not, and enhanced handgun carry permit holders, except in certain circumstances, to possess or carry, whether openly or concealed, with or without the intent to go armed, a handgun in any public school building or bus, on any public school campus, grounds, recreation area, athletic field, or any other property owned, operated, or while in use by any public board of education, school, college, or university board of trustees, regents, or directors for the administration of any public educational institution. 

    • Dead in house & senate: CFBTAF had five parents testify against the bill 

    • House sponsorChris Todd Co-sponsors: Grills, Capley  Senate sponsorPaul Bailey