Tennessee Senate passes bill allowing concealed carry for teachers

The initiative passed in the upper house of the state General Assembly a year after the massacre at the Covenant School in Nashville.

The Tennessee Senate approved, by a large majority, a bill to allow teachers and other personnel who work in schools to carry a concealed handgun inside educational facilities. The initiative, which was supported by 26 senators and rejected by five, now heads to the state House of Representatives.

Teachers or school employees who carry a concealed weapon would be prohibited from revealing it to other colleagues, except school directors, who must authorize them, as well as to students' parents and to minors. In addition, they would be required to submit an official report to determine whether they have a civil or criminal record, undergo a psychiatric examination, and complete a minimum of 40 hours of security training. The proposal now moves to the House of Representatives and, if passed, onto Governor Bill Lee.

Ken Yager, a Republican state senator and one of the bill's sponsors, said the initiative will serve to prevent school shootings: "It’s time that we look at the facts of the bill, that we are not trying to shoot a student, but protect a student from an active shooter whose sole purpose is to get into that school and kill people."

Massacre at the Covenant School

This proposal lands in the Tennessee General Assembly a year after the Covenant School massacre occurred. Audrey Hale, a transgender female, broke into this Christian school located in Nashville with assault rifles and pistols.

As soon as she entered, she began shooting at anyone who crossed her path. She murdered six people, three of them minors. Authorities soon responded to the scene and entered the school, where they shot Hale to death.

Months later, a manifesto written by Hale before carrying out the massacre was made public. It includes phrases like, "I hope I have a high death count" and, "Kill those kids!!!"