Senator working to create bill for 'gun violence restraining ord - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Senator working to create bill for 'gun violence restraining order'

(SOURCE: WMC Action News 5) (SOURCE: WMC Action News 5)

A Mid-South lawmaker wants to give people a tool he believes will help save lives.

Tennessee Senator Lee Harris said there is a gap in the laws. Many victims come to Regional Medical Center with wounds and Harris is trying to change that by reducing gun violence. He is aiming at domestic violence and those who pose a danger to the ones around them.

The new tool Harris is proposing gives new hope for those living in domestic violence situations

"It felt like rock bottom," domestic violence survivor Jordan Howard said. "I didn't care if I had to sleep on the street, I didn't care what I had to do, as long as I wasn't living like that."

Howard suffered years of abuse, physically as well as emotional and verbal abuse. 

Howard said she spent seven years married to a man who abused her.

"My abuser actually threatened to shoot my three pets because he knew that would hurt me more than anything else," Howard said. 

That's why she is now working as an advocate for domestic violence victims and supports the new tool Harris is proposing. 

"We should do something about those folks who are mentally ill and their access to weapons and other things that can cause violence or harm to others," Harris said.

Harris is working with Tennessee Safe Project to soon propose a bill that would allow a judge to issue something similar to a gun violence restraining order.

It would allow family members and law enforcement officials to file against people who pose an immediate threat, but that person has to be known to the victim.

"Give them a recourse. They can go to court and ask a judge to temporarily, just for a limited period of time, take those weapons out of the house," Harris said.

Howard said although her abuser didn't have a gun, she said this is a necessary step.

"Luckily in my case my abuser did not have a gun, but if he would have had easy access to a firearm I would have been much more terrified," Howard said. 

"Many of the cases, the people who were closest to those individuals who committed those acts, knew there was something wrong," Harris said. 

Howard said she understands and knows what it is like.

"I've been there and I know what it's like to dismiss your own fears," she said.

Senator Harris met with Tennessee sheriffs in Nashville Wednesday to discuss the idea.

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