Michael Patrick Leahy: Gov. Bill Lee’s 18 Separate Bills Are a Smoke Screen to Jam Through Red Flag Gun Control Laws During Special Session

Aug 14, 2023

The Tennessee Star Report host Michael Patrick Leahy took to the airwaves Monday morning to break down Governor Bill Lee’s call for an “extraordinary” special session.

By looking into the recent past, Leahy shows listeners how Lee’s “laundry list” of eighteen line items are little more than a smoke screen to hide the central purpose of the August 21 session, which is to pass legislation that will fundamentally alter the nature of gun ownership in Tennessee.


Michael Patrick Leahy: 6:17 AM; broadcasting live from our studios on Music Row in Nashville, Tennessee.

Original All-Star panelist Crom Carmichael will be with us at 6:30 AM.

Well, I promise I want to explain to you why Governor Lee’s call for a special session, here, is not so special.

In fact, and we can get our legal eagles on this if you read this, just as a layman, it’s very sketchy as to whether or not this meets the standard set forward in our constitution of the state for a special session.

Here is what Article III, section 9 says: “The governor may, on extraordinary occasions, convene the general assembly by proclamation in which he shall state specifically the purposes for which they are to convene. But they shall enter on no legislative business except that for which they’re specifically called together for.


Now, I went back and I looked into Governor Bill Lee’s tenure as governor. He started January, 2019. It looks like there have been six – this will be the sixth extraordinary session called by the governor.

And by the way, it’s actually a special session on “extraordinary occasions,” right?

Extraordinary occasions – which means there’s got to be some kind of event there that needs to be addressed.

And if you look at these previous instances he called one of these special sessions was to give a bunch of money to Ford Motor Company.

Because he said that the purpose was we got to give a bunch of money to Ford Motor Company because it’ll help Tennessee. And we gotta call a special session for that. Well, in that particular instance, that was a very specific purpose, right?

Very clear what the purpose was. You can disagree with it, but he called it and the result was he wanted five specific bills passed.

Okay; there’s that.

There’s also a special session where they needed another Speaker because Glen Casada had resigned.

Well, that was one item.

Okay, so one item addressed the Speaker issue; that was the second special session.

Then there was another special session where they wanted to address another topic. Let’s see what the topic was here: a peaceful assembly of protest and also COVID-19 – the June, 2020 special session. They were to pass four laws there.

Okay, remember the numbers: 6, 1, 4.

Then there was another one reintroducing the COVID pandemic requirements. This one was back in 2021.

I guess there were six particular bills that they wanted to pass.

Okay – remember the numbers here: 6, 6, 1, 4, 6 – and then another one in October of 2021.

One particular element they wanted to address in that,

Huh – interesting.

Now, how many bills do we have to address in this special session? Eighteen.


That’s not a special session, that’s a general session.

So I think it’s a little shaky in terms of the proclamation.

Now, what are the purposes? Well, it’s hard to discern the actual purposes.

It’s a laundry list of things: ‘Whereas public safety is of prime importance to Tennesseans.’

Okay. That’s good. Is that extraordinary? I don’t think so.

“Tennessee and our nation continue to experience acts of mass violence.”

Okay. That’s a statement.

“Tennesseans are experiencing mental health issues.”


“Whereas in response to executive order 100, the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation identifies barriers to timely and accurate information sharing throughout the criminal justice system, particularly regarding information that should be entered into in state and national crime databases.”

Okay, it’s fine as a statement.

Now the purpose is, “Whereas it is in the best interest of Tennessee, that the Tennessee General Assembly convene to expeditiously address these concerns.”

Can you get more vague? Is that an extraordinary occasion?

This is like four separate things, these purposes, and it’s not the clarity of ‘Let’s give money to Ford Motor Company’ at all.

Actually, this is the kind of thing that you probably could challenge the legality of this kind of special session.

But wait, there’s more.

Eighteen separate bills for consideration?

Think about that: how special is that versus previous special sessions? The most bills under the five previous special sessions to be considered were six; and they were all specifically related to one general purpose.

This one? This is political logrolling. That’s what it is.

And the governor has been trying to meet with various members of the General Assembly and say, ‘Well, I want you to address this particular thing, and if you do that, will you sign my red flag law?’ That’s what this is all about.

These 18 things, you know – the connection of these things to these purposes are very vague. Very vague, entirely vague, and separate.

But the big thing that Governor Lee wants is item number 12.

He wants temporary mental health orders of protection, which must be initiated by law enforcement, must require a due process hearing, must require the respondent to undergo an assessment for suicidal or homicidal ideation, must require law enforcement to prove its case by clear and convincing evidence, must require that an order of protection be reevaluated reevaluated at least one every 180 days, and must not permit ex parte orders.

That’s basically a red flag law, folks. That’s what he wants.

And I think a warning sign here in this special session is we’ve seen leadership in the House, not so much in the State Senate, but leadership in the House, sending signals that they are interested in conducting legislative hearings on this and other elements of this now in a special session.

You don’t really have the same kind of transparency and committee hearings that you have in a general session, right?

That means that  right now as we speak, Governor Bill Lee and the Democrats and maybe a couple of weak Republicans have a bill ready right now. And they’re gonna introduce it on Tuesday, probably, the special session convenes on Monday, a week from today, they’re gonna introduce this bill.

There will be thousands of left wing protesters around the state. There’s already. Hundreds of thousands of dollars being spent by, you know, pop-up groups to jam this through.

Tennessee General Assembly members are gonna be under huge pressure to pass what is gonna be in effect, a red flag law. Now they can say it’s not, but that’s what it is.

And if you own your guns right now, they’re gonna use this to take ’em away. You doubt me?

Let’s just see what that bill shows. because it will show that the due process hearing that they talk about is likely to be a Kafkaesque adventure designed to take away your Second Amendment rights.

We’ll have more when we get back.

This is the Tennessee Star Report. I’m Michael Patrick Leahy.

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Tune in weekdays from 5:00 – 8:00 a.m. to The Tennessee Star Report with Michael Patrick Leahy on Talk Radio 98.3 FM WLAC 1510. Listen online at iHeart Radio or Spotify.
Photo “Bill Lee” by Gov. Bill Lee. Background Photo “Tennessee State Capitol” by Ken Lund. CC BY-SA 2.0.