State bill would allow police to confiscate guns from threatening people

Gun Generic
(Photo: WKRN)

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – On the heels of the deadly Fort Lauderdale airport shooting, a proposed state bill would allow law enforcement, under a judge’s order, to confiscate a person’s firearms if they are an immediate threat to themselves or someone else.

The “STOP” bill, which stands for Security Temporary Restraining Order, works like a restraining order between people. If someone believes a person is an immediate threat to themselves or someone else, they can ask law enforcement to investigate.

If law enforcement believes the person is an immediate threat, they go before a judge and prove the person is a threat. The judge can then deny or approve the order.

If granted, police can take the person’s firearm for a year.

“Right now, the only way law enforcement can confiscate a dangerous person’s firearm is if they break the law or if they’re deemed mentally ill by a court and are involuntarily committed,” said Beth Joslyn Roth with the Safe Tennessee Project.

She continued, “It puts families and law enforcement in helpless situations when they encounter someone who they feel is an imminent danger to themselves, another person, or the general public.”

If a person’s firearms are confiscated, they can petition the court to get them back.

State Senator Lee Harris from Memphis sponsored the bill. He says this is a tool to help law enforcement and save lives.

“Law enforcement are trained to identify the risk and take appropriate action,” said Sen. Harris. “We just want to make sure they have a tool that when they see someone that’s facing something extreme that they’ll be able to do something about it.”

For example, if a person is talking about suicide or if a person is threatening someone else or a group of people, a loved one can turn to police and police can step in.

Since law enforcement would be the entity enforcing the bill and the first responder, News 2 reached out to the Tennessee Fraternal Order of Police and the Tennessee Association of the Chiefs of Police.

Both organizations said it was too soon to comment since the bill hasn’t been introduced this session.

Sen. Harris hopes to propose the bill in the next couple of weeks. The bill was introduced last year but it was tabled.