MaKayla’s Law would keep guns away from children under age of 13

Courtesy: The Dyer family/WATE

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – A bill aimed at saving the lives of Tennessee children has hit a snag in the Tennessee legislature.

Lawmakers in a Senate Judiciary Committee on Tuesday postponed vote on MaKayla’s Law, or Senate Bill 2294.

MaKayla’s Law was named after MaKayla Dyer, the 8-year-old girl who was tragically shot and killed by an 11-year-old boy in East Tennessee.

It would make it a criminal offense to recklessly leave a firearm readily accessible to a child under the age of 13.

McKayla Dyer (Courtesy: The Dyer family/WATE)
MaKayla Dyer (Courtesy: The Dyer family/WATE)

The bill received support from republicans and democrats alike, along with a number of district attorneys from around the state. Makayla’s parents also testified to the committee in support of the bill.

“I know I’ll never fully get over the loss of my little girl,” said LaTasha Dyer. “But I stand behind MaKayla’s Law 100 percent.”

Many gun owners also support the bill.

Karen Becotte, range supervisor at the Nashville Armory, said proper gun storage saves lives.

“I think it’s everybody’s responsibility to make sure guns aren’t in hands that they shouldn’t be,” said Becotte.

Several gun range users also told News 2 they didn’t have a problem with MaKayla’s Law., but the National Rifle Association has spoken out against the measure.

At the Judiciary Committee Tuesday, NRA lobbyist Erin Luper said gun safety education is important but that it’s not the state’s place to force proper gun storage.

“We do take the position that it is the gun owner’s responsibility to seek education, information and training on how to safely store a firearm, and not the state’s position to require the firearm owner to do so,” said Luper.

The NRA’s lobbying arm wields great power at state capitols across the country, including Tennessee.

After that testimony, MaKayla’s Law was quickly deferred for at least two weeks.

The measure could be discussed again on March 15.

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