NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — Gun debate continues in Tennessee after the Texas school shooting that killed 19 children.
Over the years, there have been multiple attempts to arm teachers in schools. Most recently, Representative Ryan Williams introduced such legislation but later withdrew the bill.
Others feel that arming teachers would make schools more dangerous.
“Teachers take on so much in teaching our kids and they don’t need that added responsibility to have to put their life on the line to have to go through firearms training like a police officer would to be able to protect our kids,” said LeeAnn Hewlett with Moms Demand Action.
On Wednesday, Representative John Ray Clemmons (D-Nashville) held a news conference a day after the Texas tragedy.
“I don’t know how anyone can look and even think about losing a child to gun violence after they walk them, like I do every day, walk my kids up to their school and I sit there, and I watch them walk in the door and I can’t fathom them not walking out,” Clemmons said.
He said thoughts and prayers are no longer enough, but added there has to be a better way than arming teachers in schools.
“Putting more guns in school buildings is not the answer. My three children attend public school in Nashville and I do not want their teachers walking around with firearms in their desks or in their closet or their classrooms,” Clemmons said.
Taking things a step further, Representative Clemmons called for Governor Bill Lee to repeal Tennessee’s open carry law and add more mental health resources to reach people before gun crimes are committed.
Clemmons said arming teachers is responding to the problem after the fact instead of being proactive. “I want to keep guns out of our public schools and all schools. And anyone who thinks arming teachers is the answer is completely missing the point.”
News 2 reached out to multiple lawmakers who have previously been in favor of arming teachers. As of Wednesday evening, News 2 had not heard back from them.
The Metro Nashville Education Association released the following statement to News 2:
“Today, we grieve with the families, students, educators, and community members in Uvalde, TX, and all over the country. This is yet another senseless and preventable act of violence. We cannot continue to ignore the threat to community health and wellbeing caused by gun violence. Schools should be safe havens in our communities. Arming teachers is not the answer; more guns in schools is not the answer. What we need is to address the policies that make it easy to acquire guns. We need action from state and federal legislators, and we need it now.”