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Man with brain injury and mood disorders was denied a gun; 24 hours later, it was overturned

KIFI

By Jeremy Finley

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    NASHVILLE, Tennessee (WSMV) — In cell phone videos, he holds his dog wrapped in a blanket, jokes with his sisters, climbs a rock wall, laughs as his grandmother put a French fry in his face.

Linda, who asked that her last name be withheld for fear of online harassment, has plenty of photos of her son Beaux, but it’s the videos that truly captured who he was.

It makes his absence that much harder.

“It’s so terribly lonely, and we go to those very sad places,” Linda said. “I can’t bring Beaux back. He’s gone.”

Linda knew Beaux had been in a difficult place for a while. After his suicide, she’d found a text message to his friend, in which Beaux wrote, “I’m in crisis.”

But she had no idea that Oct. 6, 2022, he had tried to purchase a gun.

A voicemail from a Franklin pawn shop on his phone, found after Beaux’s death, confirmed it.

“You were in here last night, performing a background check. It was denied,” the voicemail began.

That didn’t surprise Linda. Beaux had been diagnosed with mood disorders, the result of a brain injury as a child.

Beaux’s moods could go very high and very low. It was easy for him to become overwhelmed. Holding down a job was difficult.

He’d gone to four different out-of-state treatment centers. He was once charged with assault at one of those facilities.

“My son has a brain injury, he should never have access to a firearm,” Linda said.

So when she received the shattering news that Beaux had died by suicide with a gun, she couldn’t comprehend it.

The entire voicemail from the pawn shop explained how it happened.

“You were in here last night, performing a background check. It was denied. We ran an appeal, we already got it overturned. You can come back in today and re-sign the paperwork and you can go ahead and pick up your firearm and you are good to go sir,” the voicemail from the pawn shop employee said.

Linda quickly realized that her son had been denied on Oct. 6, and on Oct. 7 the denial had been overturned.

“Something in the system failed, and I think it’s going to get worse,” Linda said,

She doesn’t know why her son was denied the gun purchase at first, or why it was so quickly overturned.

And she never will.

According the website of the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation, the agency that conducts the appeal process, its employees are “not allowed to give specific information about denials to anyone over the phone.”

The website goes on to state, “We are required to protect the confidentiality of your transaction and you may be assured that it will not be discussed with other parties.”

Laura said she believes the state’s appeal process is fractured as too many people fail to see that suicide is a permanent solution to temporary problems.

“I’m not saying that people shouldn’t have guns. but there’s a heck of a lot of people that shouldn’t have guns. That’s what I know, and my son was one of them,” Linda said.

WSMV4 Investigates asked the TBI if there is a predetermined length of time that it takes to overturn a denial.

A TBI spokesman wrote back, “The Tennessee Instant Check System appeal is case-specific, and the time required to process them can vary, depending on the work needed to track down and verify details in question.”

Linda believes unless the state implements a longer period to evaluate denials, other families will suffer.

It’s why she wrote Governor Bill Lee about Beaux and his death before the special session, asking him to add her voice to other mothers asking for gun reform legislation.

WSMV4 Investigates did speak with the pawn shop that sold Beaux the gun and they said that he signed the appeal paperwork and they do not know the reasons why the TBI denied or overturns denials.

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