A member of the Republican-controlled legislature plans during its upcoming session to introduce a bill that would allow the state to pay for secretly armed teachers in classrooms so, the sponsor told TPM, potential shooters don’t know who has a gun and who doesn’t.
Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam (R) has said the idea will be part of his discussions about how to prevent a shooting like the one in Newtown from happening in the Volunteer State.
As has been seen following other mass shootings, there’s a strong segment of the gun rights lobby that says the answer to events like the one in Newtown is more guns in more places. But they’ve said the recent massacre shows how important it is to put guns into elementary schools, where even gun-friendly states like Tennessee don’t currently allow them.
State Sen. Frank Niceley (R) told TPM on Tuesday he believes it’s time for that to change. He plans to introduce legislation in the next session, which begins Jan. 8, that will require all schools to have an armed staff member of some kind. The current language of the bill — which is in its early form — would allow for either a so-called “resource officer” (essentially an armed police officer, the kind which most Tennessee high schools have already) or an armed member of the faculty or staff in every school in the state. The choice would allow schools that can’t afford a resource officer to fulfill the requirement without having to pay for anything beyond the cost of the training and, presumably, the weapon. But Niceley said schools should use the wiggle room to train and keep on hand armed staff not in uniform.