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Tennessee Moms Demand Action, Students Demand Action, Everytown Respond After House Subcommittee Passes Dangerous Bill That Would Increase the Number of Guns in Schools

HB 1380 Would Force Schools to Allow Almost Any School Employee With a Permit to Carry a Concealed, Loaded Handgun on School Grounds

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – The Tennessee chapter of Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America and Students Demand Action for Gun Sense in America, both part of Everytown for Gun Safety, released the following response after the House K-12 Subcommittee voted to advance HB 1380, which would force schools to allow any full-time public school employee with a handgun carry permit to carry a concealed, loaded handgun in Tennessee’s public schools. Under this extreme bill, school officials would have no discretion over which employees could carry a concealed, loaded handgun in school.

Prior to the hearing, HB 1380 primarily dealt with receipts and disbursements of public school funds. Lawmakers added provisions to increase guns in schools as an amendment before the Subcommittee vote.

“Like most parents, I worry about gun violence when I send my child to school,” said Kat McRitchie, volunteer leader with the Tennessee chapter of Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America. “But as a teacher, I know that adding more guns to our schools will only make the problem worse. I’m disappointed that legislators are even considering this risky bill, but I’m committed to doing everything I can to fight it.”

“I worry that if this bill is passed, no one would be able to stop a school employee with a permit who decided to carry a gun into a school,” said Sydney Hanan, volunteer leader and founder of the Vanderbilt University chapter of Students Demand Action for Gun Sense in America. “I completely disagree with lawmakers who claim this will make schools safer, and I am concerned for the continued security of Tennessee schools.”

Current Tennessee law allows certain educators to be armed if they meet certain requirements and complete additional firearms training. But under this bill, a school employee with a permit would not have to undergo any additional training to carry a concealed, loaded handgun in school.

There is no research indicating that arming teachers makes children safer. In fact, increasing the number of guns in schools also increases the risk of guns falling into the wrong hands. Last month, an Alabama substitute teacher’s gun unintentionally discharged in his pocket as he taught first-graders. And last year, a teacher’s gun was stolen by a student in school in Missouri. More information on the dangers of arming teachers is available here.