In the wake of a recent mass shooting at a private Christian school in Nashville, Tennessee, state lawmakers and officials were inundated with demands from activists to implement new restrictions on gun ownership.
Although Republican Gov. Bill Lee opposed the most extreme recommendations, he did express support for legislation similar to a so-called “red flag law” that would, at least in theory, reduce the likelihood that individuals who represent a threat to themselves or others would be able to own a firearm.
“I’m asking the General Assembly to bring forward an order of protection law,” he said earlier this month. “A new, strong order of protection law will provide the broader population cover, safety, from those who are a danger to themselves or the population.”
While his statement attracted support from across the aisle, many fellow Republicans balked at the proposal, describing it as an unnecessary infringement on the Second Amendment that would not have prevented the Nashville school shooting.
Among those who baked Lee’s proposition was Brent Leatherwood, who heads the South Baptist Convention’s Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission. Despite the concerns of pastors and other members of the convention, he penned a letter urging lawmakers to vote in favor of a law that would allow law enforcement to strip certain individuals of their right to own guns.
So the Southern Baptist Convention is now openly teaming with the Democratic Party on anti gun laws? And then threatens law makers if they don't support this vote?
Leatherwood reminded the lawmakers that Southern Baptists comprise “one-fifth of the population of Tennessee.” https://t.co/VxX7LZTYEJ
— Scott Patton (@ScottPatton33) April 18, 2023
In a broader statement explaining its position, the commission wrote that such a red flag law would be appropriate since enforcing it would require due process in court. Furthermore, the ethics panel noted that the SBC has previously confirmed that it stands “with all those victimized by gun violence” and supported “concrete steps” toward reducing such violence.
One pastor in Castalian Springs spoke out against the statement, noting that he had not been asked where he and those in his congregation stand on the issue.
“There are times when the ERLC does speak clearly on some issues,” Creekside Fellowship Lead Pastor Drew Byers said. “However, I think more often than not they advance the views of those in the organization rather than the views of those in the pew. No one from the ERLC has ever contacted me to ask my view on anything.”
Instead of focusing on gun control, Byers advised the commission to address the impact of transgenderism on society.
Referring to the Nashville shooting, he said that “after a transgender person shoots children at a school, the ideology that needs to be condemned is not gun culture.”