Reported By Chris Bundgaard, Reporter - bio | email
NASHVILLE, Tenn. -
In the legislative wake of the Newtown, Connecticut school shootings, many state lawmakers filed bills to prevent such a thing from happening in Tennessee, but the question remains what is going to pass as this year's session winds down?
A measure to arm some school personnel took a step forward last week when it received Governor Bill Haslam's blessing after an amendment was added that any staffer carrying a weapon must be a certified police officer.
That bill came with a previous provision that local school districts would have the final say so.
While the bill would seem to be on a track to pass with the governor blessings, one powerful Republican state lawmaker voiced some concerns with the bill to Nashville's News 2 on Tuesday.
Charles Sargent, who chairs the House Finance Committee, wonders in an event like Newtown how other police know the difference between a shooter and a teacher who might be allowed to carry a weapon.
"Both could say, ‘I'm a teacher, I'm a teacher' if confronted by law enforcement, and what do you do?" Sargent asked.
He said he plans to raise the concern before he eventually votes on the bill.
Other top lawmakers, such as House Speaker Beth Harwell, were cautious about the measure's eventual fate.
"If they are trained personnel they should be able to protect our schools but we don't want our average teacher having to do that," she said.
Another gun bill related to student safety is a measure that would help fund local districts in having police officers in schools.
"We are going to have to search for funds and hopefully we will have some state money that will offset the cost," said Rep. Sargent.