Bill would allow private schools to allow guns on campus

Private K-12 schools and higher education institutions in Tennessee would have the ability to create policy that would permit qualified people to carry handguns in all buildings and on all campuses owned and operated by the private school, according to a newly filed bill by Sen. Mike Bell, R-Riceville.

The legislation, which was filed on Monday, would require the chief administrative officers of private K-12 schools and higher education institutions to set a policy on carrying handguns on the property and buildings of each school and institution.

According to the legislation, qualified persons include anyone not prohibited from possessing a handgun and who also has a valid Tennessee handgun carry permit.

Although Bell’s legislation would not require a private school to allow all qualified people the ability to bring their guns into a building, it would mandate the school’s chief officer to create a policy.

The private institutions are given the ability to decide who is allowed to carry a weapon on the premises.

Bell told The Tennessean the bill is not a direct reaction to state Attorney General Herbert Slatery’s opinion that was issued last September in which the attorney general said people can’t bring guns to a church, religious entity or private school if the property is being used for a school event.

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