Lawmakers Vote To Allow Guns In Private Schools

Posted at 3:38 PM, Mar 24, 2016

In a vote split down party lines, lawmakers passed a bill that would give private schools and colleges in Tennessee the choice of allowing guns on campus.

Republicans pushed the bill as a move that would keep students safer, while Democrats furiously disagreed calling the change "stupid."

Senate Bill 1559 passed both chambers on Thursday. It requires the administrative officer of a private K-12 school or private university to implement a handgun carry policy. Currently guns are prohibited at all private and public schools.

If signed in to law, private schools wishing to allow guns on campus would have to submit a plan with the local sheriff's department.

"This bill simply allows at their discretion these private schools to set their own firearms policy for the safety of our children," said Tilman Goins, a Republican from Morristown who sponsored the bill.

The House voted 79 - 12 Thursday to send the law the Governor Haslam.

Democrats say allowing guns on schools grounds would create potentially dangerous scenarios during an active shooter situation where law enforcement officials can't quickly discern who is a threat if everyone has a gun.

"They (the Republicans) just want to get as many guns out there as possible. That’s just not the way to prevent tragedy from happening. We have a lot of seriously horrible legislation passing right now," said Sherry Jones, a Democrat from Nashville.

NewsChannel 5 reached out to Governor Haslam to ask if he would sign the bill in to law, his office has not responded.