Apr 11, 2024 - Politics

Bill allowing armed teachers advances

Illustration of the Tennessee State Capitol building with lines radiating from it.

Illustration: Allie Carl/Axios

Republicans in the Tennessee Senate approved legislation this week that would allow public school teachers to carry a concealed gun in the classroom.

State of play: The bill passed along party lines, with Republicans saying the measure would improve school safety. Democrats argued it would instead introduce more danger.

  • Activists and Covenant School parents were fiercely critical. Onlookers yelled out in protest during the debate. Lt. Gov. Randy McNally ordered many of them out of the room.

Zoom in: The Senate bill would allow public school employees to carry a gun if they pass a background check, receive training and meet other requirements.

  • The district schools director, the principal and a law enforcement leader must also sign off.

The big picture: Since the mass shooting at The Covenant School, a growing coalition has unsuccessfully pleaded with lawmakers to enact incremental gun control measures.

What's next: The bill still needs House approval.

  • House committees approved their version of the bill in 2023. If a lawmaker moves to revive it, the full House could act quickly to take a final vote.
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