Two separate Capitol Hill committees passed an amended version of a bill that would allow some school staff to carry their weapons in the classroom on Wednesday.
The measure still gives local school districts the final say about allowing any employee to carry a weapon on school property, but the amendment that was added said that any staffer doing so must be certified as a police officer.
“It just doesn't hand out a gun to a staff member or faculty like some people have said it does,” House sponsor Eric Watson told Nashville's News 2. “You got to be a former police officer.”
He estimated it was “unlimited” how many former certified police officers are now teachers or staffers in Tennessee schools who would be allowed to carry their guns in classrooms under the new amendment.
Watson said at least 300 criminal justice teachers statewide who have extensive police training would qualify.
The amendment was one of the things Governor Bill Haslam wanted before he gave it his blessing.
Katie Argo, member of the Governor's legislative staff, told the House Civil Justice committee that Mr. Haslam wanted “the added training listed in this amendment” and “the local decision” giving individual school districts final say.
The amended version of the bill passed the House Civil Justice Committee and the Senate Education Committee Wednesday afternoon.