Tennessee lawmakers pass bill allowing school teachers to carry concealed handguns - Hindustan Times
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Tennessee lawmakers pass bill allowing school teachers to carry concealed handguns

Apr 24, 2024 09:34 AM IST

Tennessee House votes in favour of the bill with bipartisan opposition, requiring 40 hours of training for staff carrying concealed handguns.

Tennessee lawmakers have approved a legislature that permits school teachers and staff to carry concealed handguns on school premises.

Allison Polidor reacts after the House voted to adopt Senate Bill 1325 at the Tennessee State Capitol building, a bill that will authorize teachers, principals, and school personnel to carry a concealed handgun on school grounds, in Nashville, Tennessee, U.S., April 23, 2024. REUTERS/Seth Herald(REUTERS)
Allison Polidor reacts after the House voted to adopt Senate Bill 1325 at the Tennessee State Capitol building, a bill that will authorize teachers, principals, and school personnel to carry a concealed handgun on school grounds, in Nashville, Tennessee, U.S., April 23, 2024. REUTERS/Seth Herald(REUTERS)

The bill has been sent to the governor for final approval, exactly one year after a tragic shooting incident in Nashville claimed the lives of six people.

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The Tennessee House voted in favour of the legislation by a margin of 68-28.

Notably, four Republicans joined forces with Democrats in opposing the measure.

The GOP-controlled state Senate had previously passed the bill earlier this month.

Republican state Representative Ryan Williams defended the bill: “I believe that this is a method by which we can do that because what you’re doing is you’re creating a deterrent,” he stated during the House floor debate.

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Under the proposed legislation, faculty and staff members who wish to carry concealed handguns on school grounds would be required to complete a minimum of 40 hours of approved training specifically related to school policing each year.

The bill faced huge vocal opposition

During the proceedings, protesters in the gallery heard shouting, “Blood on your hands.”

Democratic state Representative Bo Mitchell recounted last year’s Covenant School shooting in Nashville, where three children and three adults lost their lives.

“This is what we’re going to do. This is our reaction to teachers and children being murdered in a school—our reaction is to throw more guns at it. What’s wrong with us?” Mitchell passionately argued on the House floor.

Republican Governor Bill Lee's stance remains uncertain. It's not revealed whether he is planning to sign the measure. Governor Lee has not exercised his veto power during his tenure.

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Tennessee is not alone in approving such legislation. According to the Giffords Law Center, a gun violence prevention group, at least 26 states have laws allowing teachers or other school employees to possess guns on school grounds, albeit with certain exceptions.

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