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⛳️ Jody Barrett on red flag laws · NAACP takes a stand · Loose lips sink ships · Much more!

Good afternoon, everyone.

Got another one-on-one interview today. This time with Rep. Jody Barrett. Read on.


Two weeks ago, Governor Lee signed a bill into law that prevents local governments in Tennessee from implementing their own red flag laws. The move stirred up controversy among gun control advocates whose grievances headlined media stories throughout this year’s General Assembly. Earlier this morning, we spoke with the bill’s House sponsor, Representative Jody Barrett (R-Dickson), about why he brought the legislation forward and how it will impact Tennessee.

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Let's jump into it. There's a lot of media coverage now that your bill has become law. Could you briefly explain the purpose of the bill and why you brought it forward?

Well, it's two-fold. My initial reasoning for presenting the bill was because, coming out of the special session that we had back in August, it was clear that there was strong support in our legislature in opposition to what the governor was trying to propose with red flag laws. I was really trying to strike while the iron was hot.

We came out of a special session where the state legislature said, “Look, we're not interested in doing this,” then the governor basically abandoned that coming into the regular session. I wanted to go ahead and try to preempt any effort that might be made at the local level, particularly when you're looking at cities like Davidson County or Shelby County, and the different politics that they have there where someone in those county or city governments might try to take this matter into their own hands and create their own local ordinance that would give local law enforcement and courts the ability to go in and seize weapons from people that they deemed to be dangerous or a threat to other folks.

That was the original thought behind it, and then, throughout the course of the session, the Biden administration announced their Resource Center that they were creating specifically regarding extreme risk protection orders and red flag laws. They were going to dangle grant money out to local city governments and county governments to try to get them to adopt red flag ordinances. So it really became an anti-Biden Administration bill as we were in the process of moving it through the legislature, and it just picked up steam as we moved on.

So this morphed into an anti-Biden Administration bill because of the grant money coming through. I'm assuming that's the provision in subsection C, which specifically states that political subdivisions of the state can't accept grants or source funding “to implement an ordinance, a rule, an executive order, a judicial order, or a judicial finding.” The Bloomberg Gun Control Group has also spent money to put pressure on Tennessee legislators to adopt red flag laws. That’s at the state level, but we know that Michael Bloomberg operates an office out of Knoxville. He obviously likes to get involved with this stuff, as well.

That language was taken directly from an Oklahoma law. Looking at other states and what they've done to address red flag laws, I came across an Oklahoma bill….I essentially used that as my framework for this bill. When I decided I was going to proceed with this, I reached straight out to Senator Nathan Dahm in Oklahoma who sponsored this bill there in 2020. I had a couple of different conversations with him, got the draft over, and, you know, I didn't reinvent the wheel here. I just found somebody that already had a wheel that was working pretty good and tried to use it.

Like I said, when the Biden Administration came out, they announced that they were creating this extreme risk protection Resource Center specifically to try to go out and recruit. What they're running into at the federal level—same thing that Bloomberg and some of these other gun control organizations are running into—is there are Republican-controlled legislatures across the country that are pushing back on this narrative and are standing in the way of the Biden administration cramming things down the throats of the states. And so they're trying to find an end-around around these legislatures. The way they've decided to do that is to go directly to the local level. It was brilliant of Oklahoma to foresee this as an issue back in 2020, and so I'm grateful that their bill already had a framework in there.

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🚌 NAACP Opposes Transit Referendum Mayor Freddie O’Connell seems to be in hot water with the NAACP over the recent allegations made following the dismantling of Nashville’s Community Review Board. You may recall that the Community Review Board, which replaced the now- defunct Community Oversight Board, held a special meeting last month and discussed complaints filed by retired Lieutenant Garet Davidson. Davidson claims that members of MNPD helped craft the legislation that dismantled Metro’s oversight board.

“This is not a good start to your term,” reads the NAACP’s open letter to the mayor. The non-profit is demanding the O’Connell administration meet with the community, adopt the NAACP’s safety plan, and immediately assemble a task force made up of community stakeholders. “It is unacceptable that there is currently no adequate or sustainable gun violence intervention program, police accountability, or crime plan in place,” states the press release issued yesterday. “Your office has not worked with the community to create a robust public safety plan. This neglect is a disservice to the people who elected you and whose tax dollars fund government agencies, including your office and the city council.”

Back in November, O’Connell was invited to the NAACP Freedom Fund dinner where he joined as a life member. Now, the NAACP is calling on the community to oppose the mayor’s transit referendum until all their demands are met.

Though the mayor arranged for a third-party, independent investigation of Davidson’s recent allegations at the behest of the Community Review Board, more than a few feathers were ruffled when it was revealed that Metro Legal helped choose the firm that will be conducting the investigation. In other words, he’s getting it from all sides. MEGAN PODSIEDLIK

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⛴️ Loose Lips Sink Ships After leaking a series of documents related to the Covenant tragedy, the Tennessee Star and its editor-in-chief, Michael Patrick Leahy, are scheduled to appear in Tennessee Chancery Court in front of Judge I’Ashea Myles on Monday to determine whether the publication of the documents brings him into contempt of court. If you recall, Myles is the judge who, back in April, heard arguments over whether or not to release the documents to the public. The Star argued in favor of their release while the MNPD maintained they were still part of an active investigation, and thus not fit for public release. A third group, composed of members of the Covenant School community, argued against their release on copyright grounds given that Audrey Hale’s parents had granted the group ownership of the writings. 

A wrinkle in the whole debacle is that the Star blames the pending hearing on WSMV reporter Stacey Cameron, who brought the leak to Myles's attention and asked if she was considering holding the conservative outlet in contempt. Prior to Cameron’s inquiry, Myles had been unaware of the Star’s reporting on the matter, but during April’s proceedings, she had threatened to hold in contempt of court anyone who leaked additional documents. DAVIS HUNT


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View our calendar for the week here and our weekly film rundown here.

📅 Visit our On The Radar list to find upcoming events around Nashville.

🎧 On Spotify: Pamphleteer's Picks, a playlist of our favorite bands in town this week.

👨🏻‍🌾 Check out our Nashville farmer's market guide and yearly festival guide.


🎸 James Taylor @ Bridgestone Arena, 8p, $68+, Info

🎸 Ben Chapman Presents - Peach Jam @ The Basement East, 8p, $12.85, Info
+ feat. Hayes Carol, Brent Cobb, Aaron Raitiere, Ashley Ray, Meg McRee and more

🪕 Frank Evans Band @ Jane's Hideaway, 8p, Info

🪕 Bluegrass Night @ The American Legion Post 82, 7p, Free, Info