Tennessee Lawmakers Approve Controversial Bill

Tennessee Lawmakers Approve Controversial Bill

(LibertyInsider.org) — Lawmakers in Tennessee have approved a controversial new law that grants teachers the right to carry handguns in schools. Bill 1325 passed the state’s House in a 68-28 vote on April 23, a little more than one year after a 28-year-old gunman shot and killed six people at The Covenant School in Nashville.

The hotly debated legislation now moves to Governor Bill Lee’s (R-TN) desk. Initially, Lee didn’t indicate how he intended to proceed, but he recently told the media he would consider passing such a law depending on its content.

“I’m open to the idea,” he said. “But [it’s] very dependent on the details.” Then, on Thursday, April 25, he revealed during a news conference that he was planning to sign the bill.

Even if Bill 1325 is approved, it won’t instantly grant every teacher in Tennessee the right to arm themselves. Those who wish to carry a gun in school will need to secure a permit, obtain written permission from the school’s principal and local law enforcement, undergo a thorough background check, and complete at least 40 hours of handgun and school policing training.

The debate over the best way to protect students in schools is far from new; parents and lawmakers have been fiercely arguing with each side for years. But the controversy quickly heated up in the wake of the Covenant School shooting last year in Tennessee and continues to inspire clashes, complaints, and even all-out protests.

Proponents of Bill 1325 believe that arming teachers will serve as a powerful deterrent to potential shooters while also protecting students in rural areas, where police response times may be slow, from harm. They argue that vetted and trained faculty can often respond faster and more effectively in a true emergency, potentially saving lives.

However, many healthcare providers, parents, and students disagree with this viewpoint. They believe Bill 1325 is shortsighted, sets a dangerous precedent, and may, in fact, actually cause more harm than it prevents. At one protest outside the Tennessee State Capitol on April 23, attendees chanted “Blood on Your Hands” and held up signs reading, “Protect Kids Not Guns.”

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