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TN Lawmakers Vote for More Guns in Schools

A year after refusing to respond to a deadly school shooting with gun-control measures, Tennessee House Republicans passed what would be the largest expansion of gun access in the state since the March 2023 killings at a Nashville Christian school, the Associated Press reports. As protesters chanted “Blood on your hands,” lawmakers voted 68-28, with all Democrats and four Republicans opposing, for a bill that would allow some teachers and staff to carry concealed handguns on public school grounds, and would bar parents and other teachers from knowing who was armed. The bill, previously passed by the Senate, now goes to Republican Gov. Bill Lee.

The measure would bar disclosing which employees are carrying guns beyond school administrators and police, including to students’ parents and even other teachers. A principal, school district and law enforcement agency would have to agree to let staff carry guns. The proposal presents a starkly different response to The Covenant School shooting than Lee proposed last year, when Republican legislators quickly cast aside his push to keep guns away from people deemed a danger to themselves or others. A veto by Lee appears unlikely, since it would be a first for him and lawmakers would only need a simple majority of each chamber’s members to override it. “What you’re doing is you’re creating a deterrent,” the bill’s sponsor, Republican state Rep. Ryan Williams, said before the vote. “Across our state, we have had challenges as it relates to shootings.” Republicans rejected a series of Democratic amendments, including parental consent requirements, notification when someone is armed, and the school district assuming civil liability for any injury, damage or death due to staff carrying guns.


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