SB 1325: Tennessee’s right to carry and educate

Tennessee passed SB 1325, which will allow staff and teachers of K-12 schools to carry firearms. What does this mean for the future of education?

On April 25, the state of Tennessee passed SB 1325, a bill that would allow teachers to carry firearms on campus. The new bill, which is in response to growing gun violence in the U.S., has sparked debate amongst gun reformists and gun enthusiasts.  

While the bill is allowing firearms to be carried in K-12 schools, there are still some conditions that need to be met before that can happen. In addition to a background check, a psychological evaluation and written permission from local law enforcement, those wishing to carry a concealed weapon must complete 80 hours of training in school policing every year. 

In the article “Tennessee lawmakers pass bill allowing teachers, school staff to be armed,” Republican state Sen. Paul Bailey stated, “The bill is completely permissive… It simply gives a faculty or staff member the option”.  

This argument seems very familiar though… Where have I ever heard of someone wanting to have an option? (*cough cough* reproductive rights *cough cough*) As it is “an option,” only time will tell what kind of impact this bill will have on mass shootings in the U.S. 

With the passing of SB 1325, Democratic state Sen. Raumesh Akbari has called attention to the increasing absurdness of Tennessee law to CNN, pointing out just how backward things are.  

“A teacher is not allowed to put a rainbow flag on her desk, but she’s allowed to carry a gun in this?state,” Akbari said.  

As a student in the U.S., SB 1325 is alarming and frustrating to see. I have been preparing for mass shootings since I can remember, having started school just a few years after Columbine. Now we are simply allowing firearms to enter schools?  

For many of those objecting to the bill, the fact that parents would not be notified if a teacher was carrying a firearm was a big factor. This is completely valid. Anyone can be a danger, especially if they are armed. 

This bill, while having some good intentions, fails to recognize that anyone is capable of anything. As scary as it sounds, school staff and faculty can be the threat that this bill is trying to fight against, and we are allowing it to be a possibility.  

With shootings being the number one cause of death for kids in the U.S., this does not seem like the appropriate response. Does it make sense to give a fire more fire?  

40 caliber Springfield Extreme-Duty Sub-Compact defense firearm with thumb and grip safety. Photo by Elissa Blankenship

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