Tennessee Senate passes bill allowing teachers to carry concealed firearms in classrooms

Applicants would have to pass a rigorous background check and complete a training regimen.

Jarryd Jaeger Vancouver, BC
The Tennessee state Senate has passed a bill that would give teachers and staff in public schools across the state the ability to carry concealed firearms in their classrooms, provided they pass a rigorous background check and complete a training regimen.

SB 1325 has now moved to the House, where a similar bill, HB 1202, has been held up since last year.

Under the terms of the legislation, educators and other school staff hoping to carry a concealed firearm to work would have to acquire "the joint written authorization of the [Local Education Agency]'s director of schools in conjunction with the principal of the school at which the person is assigned."

They would also have to provide biometric data, including fingerprints, pass a lengthy background check, and be certified by a licensed psychiatrist or psychologist "as being free from any impairment that would ... affect the faculty or staff member's ability to safely possess and carry a concealed handgun on the grounds of a school."

Those who fulfill all the aforementioned requirements would then have to complete a minimum of 40 hours of "training specific to school policing" on a yearly basis that includes "hands-on instruction with the authorizing law enforcement."

The bill also includes a provision rendering law enforcement agencies "immune from claims for monetary damages that arise solely from, or that are related to, a faculty or staff member's use, or failure to use, a handgun."

While Republican lawmakers and their supporters said the move was overdue amid the plague of school shootings hitting America, others were less optimistic that adding more guns to the equation and effectively turning teachers into law enforcement would help solve the problem.
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