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Tennessee passes bill allowing teachers to carry guns in schools

The bill authorised a faculty or staff member of a school to carry a concealed handgun inside school premises under certain conditions.  The teachers will have to get an enhanced carry permit and written authorisation from the principal, chief of the appropriate law enforcement agency and superintendent.

Tennessee passes bill allowing teachers to carry guns in schools gcw
First Published Apr 24, 2024, 9:35 AM IST

Tennessee lawmakers on Tuesday passed a bill that would allow the state's teachers to carry concealed handguns at school, as protesters yelled their opposition from the gallery. In the Tennessee House, which is controlled by Republicans, the bill was passed 68-28. The law was approved by the state Senate earlier this month.

Since the massacre at a Nashville school last year that claimed the lives of three children and three adult staff members, there has been a fervent discussion over gun restrictions in Tennessee. Some of the Democrats in the House helped lead protests inside the capitol, leading to their brief expulsion from the body last year.

Representative Justin Pearson of Tennessee, a Democrat who was removed from the House last year but was later re-elected, posted on social media, stating, "This is an awful day for Tennessee, our kids, our teachers, and communities." "Instead of protecting kids, they've protected guns AGAIN!"

In reaction to the several school shootings that have occurred in the US over the last 25 years, Republicans and other conservatives have frequently advocated for teachers to be armed. Proponents of the measures argue that armed teachers deter would-be school shooters. Detractors say guns in school will likely only lead to tragic accidental shootings.

According to the gun safety organization Giffords Law Center, teachers and other school personnel are permitted to carry guns on school property in over half of all US states.

The Tennessee law would require at least 40 hours of training in school policing for anybody wishing to carry a concealed firearm in a school. The person is responsible for covering the cost of both the firearm and the training.

The law would prevent the identify of the staff member or instructor brandishing a pistol from being made public. The individual carrying a gun needs permission from school administrators, and local law enforcement officials need to know who is carrying it.

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