Concealed carry bill for school faculty and staff tabled in Tennessee House — for now

Published: Apr. 17, 2023 at 10:27 PM CDT
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MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - A Tennessee bill that would’ve let teachers be armed at school put on pause for the time being.

This comes after thousands rallied against the bill at the state Capitol Monday and waited for hours to hear lawmakers debate.

House Bill 1202, would allow school faculty or staff to carry concealed handguns if they have a permit, at least 40 hours of firearms training, and mental health and background checks.

School districts would have the choice to opt-in.

Memphis Shelby County Schools told Action News 5:

“Regarding any pending or potential legislature, we will monitor the bill, assess its potential impact at MSCS, and work with our elected state officials as deemed necessary.”

But before the bill could be discussed, Republican House Majority Leader Representative William Lamberth called to adjourn for the evening.

“I would make a motion that we consider the remainder of today’s calendar at the top of the regular calendar on Wednesday,” said Lamberth.

HB1202 was the next bill up for debate on Monday’s House Floor agenda as Lamberth made the motion.

“I didn’t even realize quite frankly, what bill was next on the calendar,” said Lamberth.

It didn’t sit well with many in the gallery or Democrats in the House chamber.

“This directly impacts teachers and our children and those are the people who deserve to be here to hear that debate because it directly impacts them, their job, their employment and our children who we send to school every day,” said House Democratic Caucus Chairman Representative John Ray Clemmons.

With the eyes of the nation on Tennessee after six people, including three children, were killed at a Nashville private school, and two lawmakers were expelled for protesting for gun reform on the House floor, the sponsor of the bill, Republican Representative Ryan Williams, moved to put the bill on pause.

“In a matter of trying to be bi-partisan and encourage the members to get along better and hear the debate, Mr. Speaker, I move to hold this bill on the desk,” said Williams.

The bill will be held for now, but the action taken by Representative Williams leaves the door open for further discussion at any time, without notice.

This year’s legislative session is set to wrap up a the end of this week, quicker than scheduled.

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