KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — In the wake of a Texas school shooting that left 21 dead, the debate on exactly how to keep kids safe at schools continues.

“When is the time to talk about it? If it’s not right now. Those families want a solution,” Tennessee State Representative Gloria Johnson said.

As authorities piece together what happened at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas, Johnson, a Democrat, calls gun violence a public health crisis.

“If we study it nonpartisan as a public health crisis, that information, that data and research will show where we can make changes to save lives,” she said.

The chief of security for Knox County Schools reports students are as safe as possible while in class and security is always being improved.

Tennessee State Representative Jason Zachary, a Republican, says there is a law enforcement presence at every school whether that be an officer with the school system or a sheriff’s deputy.

“Taking the Farragut schools, for example, typically you have an officer outside then you have multiple either and SRO or an SSO inside the school,” Zachary said.

Johnson believes having armed security at schools isn’t enough.

“How did work in Texas? How did that work in Buffalo? They all had somebody. The shooter had armor on and it didn’t matter. This more guns is making us safer is stupid,” said Johnson.

More funding is on the way for Tennessee schools. However, it’s up to each district how exactly the money will be spent.

“With the new TISA funding formula that we’ll be implementing in the next school year, is that we’ve appropriated an additional billion dollars into that plan,” Zachary said. “Above and beyond what the BPE would’ve accounted for. And I did confirm with the department of education, many of those funds are able to be used for security measures because they’re not designated or appropriated for specifics.”

According to Zachary, there are some issues laws cannot fix but he’s willing to do whatever he can to put an end to school shootings.

“I can’t pass legislation to address a sinful heart or pure evil because a criminal is a criminal. Chicago is a perfect example. They have the most stringent gun laws in the country but every weekend you hear numbers of murders committed there over and over again. All those things are factors we have to take into place while also preserving our second amendment rights. Man, it is a tension and a problem and an issue and something we have to address,” he said.

“No one is going to take them (guns) away but the reality is we can put stop-gap measures in place that can eliminate a whole lot of these deaths,” Johnson said. “The idea that the number one killer of our children today is guns is outrageous. They say, ‘well, we can’t outlaw guns or we can’t regulate guns because criminals will still get them.’ That doesn’t make sense. That’s like saying ‘well, we shouldn’t have laws against bank robbery because people are still going to rob banks.'”

Johnson added she was teaching at Central High School in 2008 when Ryan McDonald was killed in a shooting on campus. She says she’ll never forget the terror.