Subject: Amendment to be offered to allow teachers to carry in K-12 public schools

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April 8, 2019

Bill to allow school employees to carry firearms to be heard April 10 in House and Senate

Same Old Shenanigans – a caption bill that changes its purpose entirely! These should be prohibited.

House Bill 1380 Senate Bill 1399 was filed with the following description:

AN ACT to amend Tennessee Code Annotated, Title 39 and Title 49, relative to schools. Education – As introduced, requires that the commissioner of education’s annual report to the governor on the receipts and disbursements of public school funds, condition of public schools, and recommendations for improvement be submitted by September 1 each year. – Amends TCA Title 39 and Title 49.

Nothing in that description has anything to do with guns – or does it?

When the bill was heard in the House Education K-12 Subcommittee it was completely amended by House Amendment 1 (005892) – link. So what does the completely rewritten bill do now?

The amendment deletes and completely rewrites the bill to authorize full time public school employees (not students) of public K-12 institutions who have a Tennessee civilian handgun permit (no reciprocity permits?) to carry that handgun concealed only in the school at which the employee works. To do so, the employee must provide notify the law enforcement agencies which have jurisdiction over the school (does this include local police, sheriff, TBI, TDOS and perhaps any federal law enforcement agencies that might have overlapping jurisdiction?). Even if allowed to carry in the school or classroom, the employees would not be allowed to carry, under penalty of felony charges, in stadiums, gymnasiums or auditoriums during school-sponsored events (like book fairs, pep rallies, games, plays, maybe during meals if they eat in the gyms, etc.), in meetings regarding disciplinary matters or tenure, or in any location where state or federal law bans concealed carry.

What are some of the other problems? Well, what if the teacher is escorting students to another school – perhaps for a spelling bee or debate. The armed teacher could be charged with a felony if that was not her school also. What about part time teachers, substitutes, part-time employees (perhaps teach only limited classes or even paid coaching) – all potential felons. What about teachers who teach in one of the border cities but live out of state – nope, not unless they somehow have the actual Tennessee permit. These are the kinds of needless and avoidable “political correctness” traps that find their way into these bills and that should be removed from them.

Its a bill that goes in the right direction but it still has ambiguities and a little too much unproven “political correctness”.

This is a bill that would add Tennessee to the approximately 8 to 17 states (depending on how you read the various state laws) that already allow teachers to carry on school grounds.

Tennessee needs this. The current governor promised his support for this type of law. So, let’s fix the technical problems with it, throw out the political correctness and enact it. Or, better yet, let’s allow any Tennessee handgun permit holder to carry on school grounds … period.

Please contact your legislators concerning these bills. It is important that we keep reminding them about the bills which remove infringements on our rights but it perhaps more important that we demand as voters that they put a stop to any proposed legislation the detracts to the smallest degree from our constitutionally protected rights.

Committee compositions, calendars and members are found on the State Website

You can look up your individual legislators on the State’s “Find my Legislator” page.

The full report and amendment link can be accessed through the TFA's website at this page

It is important that you review these reports and contact committee members and your individual legislators with your opinions, particularly your support or opposition.

Committee compositions, calendars and members are found on the State Website

You can look up your individual legislators on the State’s “Find my Legislator” page.

John Harris
Executive Director

Joining and supporting TFA is an investment in the fight to restore our constitutional rights and to fight against politicians who are willing to sell their votes and your rights to whichever business interest gives them the most money!

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