Tennessee Passes Bill Allowing Armed Teachers in Schools After Nashville Shooting

Tennessee passes bill allowing some teachers to carry concealed guns in schools, sparking debate on school safety and gun policies in the wake of a deadly shooting.

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Wojciech Zylm
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Tennessee Passes Bill Allowing Armed Teachers in Schools After Nashville Shooting

Tennessee Passes Bill Allowing Armed Teachers in Schools After Nashville Shooting

In the aftermath of the deadly shooting at The Covenant School in Nashville, Tennessee on March 27, 2023 that left 3 students and 3 staff members dead, the legislature passes bill allowing some teachers and staff to carry concealed handguns on public school grounds. The bill, which is now headed to Republican Governor Bill Lee for consideration, represents the largest expansion of gun access in the state since the tragic shooting.

The legislation requires staff to have a handgun carry permit, undergo 40 hours of training, and get authorization from the school principal and local law enforcement to armed teachers on campus. However, it bars disclosing which employees are armed to students, parents, and even other teachers. Supporters argue that arming trained school personnel could help protect students, especially in rural areas with limited law enforcement and longer response times.

But the bill teachers has faced fierce opposition from many parents, educators, and gun safety advocates who fear it could amplify the danger in schools and put children's lives at risk. Sarah Shoop Neumann, a parent of a Covenant School student, was among the protesters at the state capitol chanting "Blood on your hands" as the bill was debated. "I don't see any way that more guns in schools make children safer," Neumann said, arguing that the measure creates more risks of accidents and misfire.

Why this matters: The passage of this bill in Tennessee highlights the ongoing national divide on gun policies and school safety measures, particularly in the wake of school shootings. It reflects a starkly different respond school than the gun control proposals pushed by Democrats and gun reform advocates.

The bill now heads to the desk of Governor Bill Lee, who has not indicated whether he will sign it into teachers school law. If enacted, it remains unclear how many school districts would actually allow passes bill allowing, as some education leaders believe only law enforcement should carry weapons on campus. About half of U.S. schools mass states already allow school employees with concealed carry permits to bring guns onto school property, and several more Republican-led states have passed measures this year to expand that ability.

Key Takeaways

  • Tennessee legislature passes bill allowing some teachers to carry concealed guns.
  • Bill requires 40 hours of training and authorization from principal and police.
  • Supporters argue it could protect students, especially in rural areas.
  • Critics fear it could amplify danger and put children's lives at risk.
  • Bill now heads to Governor Bill Lee, who has not indicated if he will sign it.