KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — A new bill filed this week in the Tennessee legislature would allow more people to have guns on school campuses.
According to students at the University of Tennessee, they feel safe on campus in Knoxville.
“Never feel unsafe here,” sophomore Chloe Bozeman said.
“It’s a great place to be,” junior Kerry Williams said. “Everybody has the opportunity. Whatever you want to pursue, you can pursue here and I just think that’s awesome.”
“I would say for the most part I do feel safe,” senior Carter Barczak said.
The bill, SB0827, would change certain code in state law that currently prohibits any firearms from being carried in public parks or on public school campuses. If approved, any adult who is legally allowed to carry a firearm in Tennessee to bring a gun onto any school property all the way from elementary school to college campuses. This also includes public parks.
“I don’t see myself doing that, but I think that it’s a good thing to let other people to do it,” sophomore Allyson Simmons said.
“I would feel perfectly safe if teachers were allowed to carry on campus, yes,” Williams said.
“As a person with their carrying permit, I wish we could carry guns on campus,” Barczak said. “We go through a rigorous program to carry guns and I feel like if more people have guns on campus and know how to use them, it would be a safer campus.”
However, some students have concerns about the bill.
“People lose their backpacks, their belongings all the time so if a gun was to fall into the wrong hands and someone left a gun in a backpack, it just wouldn’t be good. I wouldn’t feel safe. I don’t know if there’s a way to guarantee that the gun would stay with the rightful owner,” another UT senior said.
As of July 2021, Tennessee does not require a permit to carry a gun concealed or openly, however, you must meet a long list of requirements to buy one.
“If this bill does get passed its allowing entry for a lot of other places to have guns,” a student said. “I don’t really think there’s a place for a gun at school.”
Tennessee Senator Joey Hensley (R-Hohenwald) introduced the bill and a representative from his office tells WATE the bill is going to be revised.
The bill currently is not assigned to a subcommittee although that could change very soon.