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Tennessee House Civil Justice Subcommittee Advances Bills to Arm Teachers on Second Day of Special Session, Takes No Action on Gun Safety; Tennessee Moms Demand Action, Students Demand Action Respond

August 22, 2023

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — The Tennessee chapters of Moms Demand Action and Students Demand Action, both part of Everytown for Gun Safety’s grassroots network, released the following statement in response to the House Civil Justice Subcommittee’s advancement of HB 7064 and HB 7086, bills to arm teachers, during their special session. The bills allow faculty, staff, and even visitors to carry guns at public schools. The special session was called by Governor Lee following the mass shooting at the Covenant School in Nashville, where three kids and three adults were murdered, under the premise of passing gun safety. So far, no action has been taken on gun violence prevention measures. 

“If more guns in more places made us safer, we’d be safe already—but we’re not. Instead, we go to school in constant fear of gun violence,” said Iman Omer, a Students Demand Action volunteer, and student at Vanderbilt University. “This is not the solution. It is a slap in the face for our lawmakers to respond to our cries for change with a bill that will only endanger us more.”

Tennessee has the 12th highest rate of gun deaths in the United States and some of the weakest gun laws in the country. Increasing armed individuals would not help Tennessee’s gun violence crisis, and in fact, could make it even worse. In 2020 following the Uvalde Massacre, the National Education Association and the American Federation of Teachers both strongly opposed arming teachers.  Research shows that arming teachers adds new risks  of gun violence in schools and puts the lives of students, teachers, and law enforcement at risk.

 In an average year, 1,385 people are killed by guns in Tennessee, with a 52% increase from 2012 to 2021, compared to a 39% increase nationwide. Gun violence costs Tennessee around $18 billion each year. More information about gun violence in Tennessee is available here.

If you are interested in speaking with a Tennessee Moms Demand Action or Students Demand volunteer, or a policy expert please reach out to [email protected].

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