Tennessee House Passes Controversial Bill Allowing Teachers to Carry Guns Amid Protests

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Nashville, Tenn. (TN Tribune)-In a move that has stirred uproar, Tennessee House Republicans successfully passed legislation on Tuesday that will permit certain trained teachers and school staff to carry handguns on campus. The decision came despite strong opposition from Democrats, students, and gun-reform advocates who had urged for the bill’s defeat.

The atmosphere inside the state capitol became heated as the legislation passed with a 68-28 vote. Dozens of protestors, stationed in the galleries, erupted in chants of “Blood on your hands,” directed at the lawmakers who supported the bill. The loud protests prompted House Speaker Cameron Sexton, a Republican from Crossville, to call on state troopers to evacuate the galleries. Nonetheless, many protestors remained vocal, chanting and stomping as they were escorted out, contributing to a chaotic scene on the House floor amid ongoing parliamentary proceedings.

The bill’s passage was not without dissent within the Republican ranks; four GOP members broke party lines to vote against the measure, and three others abstained. Despite this, the legislation is expected to swiftly become law. Governor Bill Lee, who has a record of not vetoing any bill during his tenure, has the option to sign it into law or let it pass automatically into law without his signature. This legislative decision marks a significant moment in Tennessee’s ongoing debate over gun control and school safety, spotlighting the deep divisions and strong emotions surrounding the issue.