Knoxville School Shooting: Student killed, cop wounded as Gov Bill Lee slammed over permitless gun carry law

With the new gun bill signed into law, Tennessee becomes one of the 18 other states where residents won't need a permit to carry a weapon


                            Knoxville School Shooting: Student killed, cop wounded as Gov Bill Lee slammed over permitless gun carry law
Austin-East High School (Knox County Schools) and Tennessee Governor Bill Lee (Bill Lee via Twitter)

Tennessee Governor Bill Lee declared on Thursday, April 8, "It shouldn’t be hard for law-abiding Tennesseans to exercise their #2A rights". A day later, on Friday, April 9, he signed into law a bill that would allow Tennessee residents to carry guns without the need for permits. Less than a week later, a student was shot dead in a Knoxville school after firing at police officers. The shooting occurred at around 3 pm on April 12. According to sources, a student was in the school bathroom when police encountered him. He then shot at the officers, injuring one. Officers fired back, killing the suspect. Another suspect was taken into custody, but his role in the incident is not clear at this time. 

Lee's controversial bill has since been slammed by a large number of users on social media. It doesn't help that he tagged the National Rifle Association in his tweet, which said, "I signed constitutional carry today because it shouldn’t be hard for law-abiding Tennesseans to exercise their #2A rights. Thank you members of the General Assembly and @NRA for helping get this done."



 

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Tennessee Governor Bill Lee gives the command to start engines prior to the NASCAR Cup Series All-Star Race at Bristol Motor Speedway on July 15, 2020, in Bristol, Tennessee. (Getty Images)

Following the shooting at Austin-East Magnet High School, the governor's tweet has since blown up. The officer who was shot was reportedly an Austin-East school resource officer and has been taken to a local hospital. He is expected to make a full recovery. The school was placed in lockdown, which has now been lifted and students reunited with their families. The school has reportedly seen three gun-related deaths over the last three weeks. At the time, Lee's permitless gun carry was not yet the law. The law will come into effect only on July 1.

With the bill, Tennessee becomes one of the 18 other states where residents won't need a permit to carry a weapon. The law will allow anyone over 21 to buy a gun without the need for a background check or permit. Republicans in the state have made the bill a high-priority item, which is now coming back to hurt them. 

Police respond to the shooting at Austin-East Magnet High School. (Knoxville Police Department via Twitter)

'You got blood on your hands'

Lee has now become the target of many angry people, who are shocked at the shooting. One user said, "yesterday, gov bill lee signed the permitless carry bill into law. today, there was a school shooting at a high school in knoxville. i cannot make this up" Another user retweeted Lee's tweet and said, "Couple days later, a mass school shooting in Knoxville. Congratulations Bill Lee, you got blood on your hands!"



 



 

Another angry user tweeted, "There's been another school shooting, this time at the Austin-East Magnet High School in Knoxville, Tennessee. I blame Tennessee Governor Bill Lee, because toadying to gunlovers is more important to him than saving kids' lives:"

One person tweeted, "BREAKING: Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee says the Knoxville school shooting is "a very difficult and tragic situation" and he is going to wait and see who's Black and who's White before commenting further." Another said, "Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee sold out Tennessee constituents’ safety for NRA support."



 

 



 



 

"Governor Bill Lee’s gonna be so busy “praying,” he won’t be able to reflect on the open gun carry bill he signed off on last week. I’m not against prayer, I just expect more spine and problem solving from our top politician" said one person. Another commented, "Hey Bill Lee: You know what else is "very difficult" and a "tragic situation"? That PERMITLESS CARRY BILL you just signed..".

"Remember tennessee, bill lee doesn’t care about us. he values the opinions of his colleagues more than whether or not we can survive high school on this state" one person tweeted. Another said, "Our Governor Bill Lee takes his orders from the NRA. Tennessee has a gun violence issue and he just signed a bill for permitless carry."



 



 



 

 



 

Following the shooting, the governor issued a brief statement calling it "a very difficult and tragic situation". Names of the individual arrested, the student shot and the officer injured have not yet been made public.

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