Tennessee Senate approves measure allowing school teachers to carry concealed guns

Nashville, Tennessee - Tennessee's Republican-controlled state Senate has advanced legislation that would allow teachers to carry concealed guns to school.

Protesters call for stricter gun laws after being removed from the gallery at the Tennessee Capitol during a Senate hearing on a bill that would allow public school teachers to carry concealed firearms.
Protesters call for stricter gun laws after being removed from the gallery at the Tennessee Capitol during a Senate hearing on a bill that would allow public school teachers to carry concealed firearms.  © IMAGO / USA TODAY Network

Tennessee state senators on Tuesday voted 26-5 along party lines to pass SB 1325 – just over a year after a deadly school shooting in Nashville which killed three children and three adults.

The legislation requires K-12 public school teachers carrying concealed handguns to hold a valid permit and complete annual training with law enforcement.

SB 1325 does not require schools to disclose to parents which staff members are carrying firearms.

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Republicans have suggested that allowing teachers to carry guns on campus is intended to improve student safety amid a deadly string of mass shootings at US schools. But Everytown for Gun Safety found in a 2019 study that arming teachers actually increases the risk of gun violence at schools.

A 2018 Gallup poll – taken shortly after the Parkland, Florida, school massacre – determined that 73% of teachers oppose carrying guns on campus.

Tennesseans rally against arming school teachers

Tuesday's Senate vote was marked by protests as Tennesseans erupted in chants of "No more silence, end gun violence" and "Kill the bill, not the kids."

Some were then removed from the room.

"Parents being removed from Senate gallery while voting on arming teachers. Our comfort and convenience should never supersede the safety and lives our children. This is the People’s House," state Senator Charlane Oliver, one of the five Democrats who voted against the bill, shared on X.

SB 1325 now heads to the Tennessee House.

Cover photo: IMAGO / USA TODAY Network

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