Tennessee Lawmakers Pass Bill for Concealed Handguns on School Grounds

Sophia Moonstone

Updated Wednesday, April 24, 2024 at 6:24 AM CDT

Tennessee Lawmakers Pass Bill for Concealed Handguns on School Grounds

In a decisive move, Tennessee lawmakers have passed a bill allowing school staff to carry concealed handguns on school property, a measure that has sparked impassioned debate on both sides of the gun control issue. The Tennessee House approved the bill with a 68-28 vote, despite four Republicans joining Democrats in opposition. The state Senate had previously passed the measure, setting the stage for Governor Bill Lee to potentially sign it into law.

The bill's champion in the House, Republican state Rep. Ryan Williams, argued that the presence of armed staff would deter potential school shooters. In contrast, Democratic state Rep. Bo Mitchell voiced strong opposition, highlighting fears stemming from the tragic Covenant School shooting in Nashville that left six dead.

Under the new legislation, staff members who wish to carry a handgun must undergo at least 40 hours of specialized school policing training every year. Additionally, carrying a concealed weapon requires a handgun carry permit, written authorization, a thorough background check, and the combined approval of school leaders, the school district, and local law enforcement. However, ident***** of armed staff would be kept confidential, and guns are prohibited during school events in stadiums, gymnasiums, or auditoriums.

Governor Bill Lee, who has a record of not vetoing legislation during his tenure, now faces the decision to sign the bill or let it become law without his signature. If enacted, this policy would align Tennessee with at least half of U.S. states that permit teachers or other school employees to carry firearms on school grounds.

The push for this bill was fueled by the recent Nashville school shooting, which intensified the debate over gun laws in Tennessee. House Speaker Cameron Sexton cleared the galleries after public outcries during the bill's proceedings, where protesters chanted "Blood on your hands," reflecting the high emotions surrounding the issue. Republicans in the legislature defeated proposed Democratic amendments, including requirements for parental consent and district liability provisions.

Critics, including State Representative Justin Pearson and Metro Nashville Public Schools, have voiced concerns about the safety risks of arming teachers, including the potential for accidental shootings. Yet, proponents maintain that the measure is a deterrent to school shooters. Amidst the controversy, Tennessee Republicans have also recently enacted legislation to protect gun dealers from lawsuits and allow guns on private school campuses.

The bill represents a significant shift in Tennessee's gun policy, coming on the heels of permit-less carry laws and potential legislation aimed at restricting gun rights for certain criminal defendants and juveniles. As the cost of training and firearms falls on individuals, the state stands at a crossroads, reflecting the ongoing national divide on the role of guns in safeguarding schools.

This development occurs against a backdrop of numerous school shootings across the U.S. over the past 25 years. With the Giffords Law Center noting the growing trend of firearms in schools, Tennessee's latest measure could mark a major expansion of gun access since the Nashville tragedy, pending Governor Lee's decision.

Conservative Bias:

In a bold move to protect our children and uphold Second Amendment rights, Tennessee lawmakers have taken a stand against the liberal agenda of disarmament by passing a bill that empowers school staff to carry concealed handguns. This is a victory for common sense and safety, as it deters the deranged criminals who prey on gun-free zones. The liberal opposition, with their delusional fearmongering, would rather leave our kids as sitting ducks than acknowledge the reality that the only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun. It's clear that the left cares more about pushing their anti-gun narrative than protecting our children. Tennessee conservatives, however, are taking real action to ensure the safety of our schools, despite the hysterical chants of misguided protestors who don't understand that gun rights are what keep us free and secure.

Liberal Bias:

In a reckless and dangerous move, Tennessee lawmakers have capitulated to the gun lobby by passing a bill that allows school staff to carry concealed handguns on school grounds. This is a blatant disregard for the safety of our children, pandering to the NRA instead of listening to the cries of parents and educators. The conservative lawmakers have blood on their hands, ignoring the stark lessons of recent tragedies in favor of an extremist agenda that puts more guns in our schools. It's an absolute abdication of responsibility, choosing to potentially arm unqualified individuals instead of implementing sensible gun control measures. The Republican-led legislature has shown a callous indifference to the risks of accidental shootings and the overwhelming public outcry for gun reform. This is a dark day for Tennessee, as conservatives once again prioritize deadly firearms over the lives of our students.

Noticed an error or an aspect of this article that requires correction? Please provide the article link and reach out to us. We appreciate your feedback and will address the issue promptly.

Check out our latest stories