Bill arming some Tennessee teachers at school still being considered

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Governor Bill Lee’s $30-million school security plan quietly passed both chambers in the Tennessee legislature last Thursday but making a bit of noise is a plan to allow some K-12 teachers to carry concealed handguns.  

“We are giving them something,” said sponsor Rep. Ryan Williams about the bill which is scheduled to be heard this week in the House Education Committee after passing a subcommittee last week. 

Citing the Parkland school shootings in Florida last year, Rep. Williams said administrators there wished after the fact that some teachers or staffers would have had weapons.  

“If they are holed up, let’s say in this committee room and the active shooter comes in…they would have more than a stapler…to defend them and the kids,” added the sponsor. “But it would not be like the athletic director at Parkland because he used his body because it was the only weapon.” 

Rep. William’s bill would allow for teachers or staffers with a handgun permit to carry their weapon at school, provided an administrator is aware, but law enforcement is against the idea saying those teachers or staffers would need more training.     

All this comes as Governor Lee’s $30-million proposal to help put resource officers (SROs) in every school awaits his signature. 

Rep. Williams says that is a big step, but SROs can’t be everywhere quickly in even a small school. 

Sponsor Williams says there have been no incidents since a similar bill passed three years ago allowing teachers and staffers to carry concealed handguns at Tennessee state colleges.

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