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One year after the deadly Nashville shooting, Tennessee lawmakers pass a bill allowing teachers to carry firearms in the classroom.

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Republican senators in Tennessee have introduced a bill that would allow certain teachers to carry pistols on school property, a move that has sparked criticism. Senate Bill 1325, which permits teachers and staff members who satisfy certain requirements to own and carry guns in public schools, was passed by the Senate by a vote of 26 to 5.

A valid handgun carry permit, written consent from the local law enforcement agency and the school principal, and completion of 40 hours of pistol training are requirements for eligibility. They must also not be forbidden from possessing firearms by federal or Tennessee law, as established by a thorough background investigation.

The devastating massacre at Nashville’s The Covenant School last year, which claimed the lives of three adults and three children, is what gave the bill its impetus. In spite of worries, the bill does not require instructors to carry weapons or participate in active shooter scenarios. Additionally, it withholds information about armed personnel from parents and other teachers, limiting its exposure to law enforcement and school administrators.

Advocates contend that arming educators might enable prompt action in the event of a danger, especially in remote places where law enforcement personnel are few. The goal of the law, according to Senator Ken Yager, is to safeguard pupils rather than endanger them.

Still, there is strong opposition to the bill. Protesters in the Senate galleries expressed their disapproval during arguments by chanting things like “Vote them out” and “End gun violence.” London Lamar, a Democrat, denounced the bill, saying that educators did not want it and that it was harmful.

The passing of the bill is in line with larger attempts by Republicans in Tennessee to loosen gun regulations, such as the 2021 implementation of permit-free carry for pistols. Along with a plan to legalize weapons in private schools offering pre-kindergarten classes, plans are also underway to expand permitless carry to include long guns.

In addition, Senate Republicans are working on an amendment that would extend the “right to keep, bear, and wear arms” under the state Constitution beyond defense. This proposal might make it to the vote in 2026. Republicans in Tennessee strengthened extra defenses against legal actions brought by gun and ammunition manufacturers, sellers, and dealers last year.

The bill is currently awaiting a House floor vote, which will likely heighten discussions about school safety and gun regulation.

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