Lawmakers vote to allow guns in private schools

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NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) - Nashville CBS affiliate WTVF reports that state lawmakers passed a bill giving private schools and colleges the choice to allow guns on campus.

According to WTVF, Republicans backed the bill because they believe it will keep students safer while at school. Democrats disagreed and even called the move "stupid."

The station reports that Senate Bill 1559 passed both chambers on Thursday. The measure requires an administrative officer of a private K-12 school or private university to implement a handgun carry policy. Guns are currently banned at all private and public schools in Tennessee. If the bill is signed into law, the local sheriff's department would need a plan from private schools wishing to allow guns on campus.

"This bill simply allows at their discretion these private schools to set their own firearms policy for the safety of our children," said Tilman Goins, a Republican from Morristown who sponsored the bill.

The House voted 79 - 12 Thursday to send the law to Governor Haslam for his signature, according to WTVF.

Democrats told WTVF that the move may create more danger for students during active shooter situations where police aren't able to tell who's a threat if everyone has a gun.

"They (the Republicans) just want to get as many guns out there as possible. That’s just not the way to prevent tragedy from happening. We have a lot of seriously horrible legislation passing right now," said Sherry Jones, a Democrat from Nashville.

Governor Haslam did not respond to WTVF's requests for comment about whether he plans to sign the bill into law.