Nashville, TN – Chaos erupted in the Tennessee House of Representatives on Tuesday after the passage of a controversial bill that would allow teachers and staff members to carry concealed handguns in schools. The bill received approval from lawmakers and now awaits the possibility of being signed into law.

According to the New York Times, if the bill becomes law, teachers and staff members carrying firearms would need to undergo required training and receive approval from school administrators and principals. However, parents would not be notified about armed personnel on campus.

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The passing of this legislation follows that transgender mass shooting at The Covenant School in Nashville last year, where three students and three staff members lost their lives. The intention behind the bill is to provide protection for students in the event of an active shooter situation.

Tennessee state Senator Ken Yager (R) stated, “We are not trying to shoot a student but protect a student from an active shooter whose sole purpose is to get in that school and kill people.”

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In response to the bill’s passing, protesters in the House gallery voiced their disapproval, shouting, “Blood on your hands.” Outside the Tennessee Capitol building, opponents of the bill flooded the hallways with signs displaying messages like “Kids Deserve More!” and “Have You Lost You Ever-Loving Minds?”

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Representative Justin Jones (D) captured the moment of protest in a video, sharing it on social media. The video showed protesters chanting “Blood on your hands” after Republicans allegedly “cut off debate” and pushed the bill forward. Jones described the situation as “what fascism looks like.”

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Cathy Barnett, a volunteer from the Tennessee Chapter of Moms Demand Action, raised concerns about how the handguns would be stored and preventing unauthorized access. She emphasized the need for critical answers regarding these aspects of the legislation.

The newly passed bill expands upon an existing law that allows law enforcement officers and private security guards to carry firearms in schools. Under the proposed legislation, teachers and staff members would require a handgun permit and approval from school officials and law enforcement agencies. The law would also establish a confidentiality rule regarding concealed carry permits.

Approximately half of the states in the country permit teachers or school employees with concealed carry permits to possess firearms on school premises, as reported by Giffords, a research group dedicated to reducing gun violence.

 

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