Tennessee Considering Bill to Fund Training, Arming Teachers

Tennessee Considering Bill to Fund Training, Arming Teachers

The state of Tennessee is considering training and arming their teachers in response to the recent mass shooting at the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, where 26 people were killed by a mad gunman; 20 of the 26 victims were young children.

The nation has been greatly divided over what the appropriate response to the tragedy should be, with many left-of-center Americans advocating increased restrictions on firearms, while many right-of-center Americans advocate arming teachers due to the tendency of madmen to target the controversial gun-free zones where no one is able to defend against attacks. 

Even foreign nations have entered the discussion; China went so far as to demand US citizens be disarmed.

The Tennessee proposal would specifically allow the state to pay for training and arming some teachers, who would then secretly possess a firearm in the classroom.

The plan was introduced by a Republican in the Republican-controlled state legislature and has received some support from the Tennessee governor, Bill Haslam (R). Governor Haslam has stated his intention to consider the proposal in a broader discussion of how to protect Tennessean children and prevent a massacre like the one that occurred in Newtown, Connecticut.

Most Tennessee public schools already have an armed resource officer, but proponents of this proposal are quick to point out the dangers in having a clearly identified armed defender. Critics of the security guard strategy say that an attacker would simply shoot the visible guard and then do as he or she wished.

The proposal follows the logic of concealed carry theory, that deems a potential predator or attacker will not know who is and who is not armed, therefore deterring attacks in the first place.

If accepted, the legislation would require all Tennessee schools to have an armed staff member of some kind. This would allow for either an armed and identifiable resource officer, a covert firearm carrier in the faculty or staff, or both. 

Currently, Tennessee’s armed resource officers are paid by the local sheriff’s department and the local school district, but the proposed legislation would allow the state to pay the expense of background checks, training, and possibly a firearm for the new covert defender.