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Guns in Tennessee schools

by William T. Robinson, Jr
William T. Robinson, Jr.

The Tennessee Republican, majority-led, state legislature is close to enacting legislation where trained teachers will be allowed to bear arms in our schools. This is against the wishes of teachers and the community. This is a sad state of affairs we have arrived at, and in no way would be a victory—no matter how you may look at it. Most teachers don’t think being trained to be policemen is what they signed up for. Their priority is in educating our children. Protecting our schools is the city or state’s job.

The Republican, majority-led, state legislature has thus far ignored the cry by the majority of the public for stricter gun restrictions in wake of the Covenant School shooting in Nashville. You’ll remember that was where three students and three adults were massacred. Instead of vying to ban assault weapons or stricter background checks, the state legislature has found it appropriate to consider teachers being armed.

It seems no thought is being ‘wasted’ on how teachers feel. Tennessee teachers never considered that love for educating their students would be compromised with the possibility of them having to carry a gun into their classrooms. Teachers should be able to teach, not police. The great majority of them are not interested in the possibility of wielding firearms. It is a dangerous and uncomfortable precedent the state legislature is considering. Putting the responsibility on the teachers negates state legislators’ obligation and responsibility to enact meaningful, gun restriction legislation.

Allowing teachers to carry guns literally makes schools armed battlefields and takes away their main objective, which is educating our children. It will not only make teachers uncomfortable, but may negatively affect the psyche of students, causing undue anxiety. Weapon carrying teachers might make students feel they are in the middle of a war zone, and schools are basically unsafe. 

The common sense and reasonable approach would be to ban assault weapons and to enact stricter background checks. But our Republican led state legislature seem to have a higher allegiance to the NRA than honestly protecting the lives of our children. While they are quick to offer prayers and condolences to the families of those killed or victimized by mass shootings, they refuse to enact meaningful legislation to combat the problem. They reek with hypocrisy.

Allowing teachers to carry guns in schools can only cause more chaos, especially if a wayward student or group is able to lay hands on a gun by going through a teacher’s purse or desk. It will only create a liability to the schools. You shouldn’t set up situations for unnecessary disasters to happen.

Assault weapons allow multitudes of people to be killed or massacred in a short period of time. If the public as a whole were allowed to view the horrific damage it does to the bodies of our young children, it would not be a moot issue. Hiding behind the Second Amendment to support the public’s right to have assault weapons is hyperbole. Some weapons are meant to be used specifically for the battlefield, not in public civilized communities.

Does the right to bear arms allow civilians to be able to purchase tanks, grenades, and rocket launchers without an arduous complicated process?  Without question, civilians are discouraged from attaining or purchasing such firearms.

We must also acknowledge a ban on assault weapons is nothing new. In 1994 Congress passed a 10 year ban on assault weapons. It was called the Public Safety and Recreational Firearms Use Protection Act, commonly referred to as the Federal Assault Weapon Ban. The ban significantly lowered mass shooting and deaths associated with these incidents.

It is highly unlikely we can stop mass shootings altogether, but we can deter or greatly reduce the possibility of these deadly occurrences. We need to let our unresponsive, Republican state legislators (reneging in their responsibility to adhere to the wishes of the majority) know that our voices will be heard in the upcoming elections with our votes to remove them. Admit it or not, they know arming teachers with guns is not the answer to effective, meaningful gun legislation to protect our children.

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