guns

Bill to arm TN teachers advances; sponsor says Haslam school safety plan not enough

A controversial bill that would let designated Tennessee educators go armed in schools cleared another House hurdle Tuesday, despite concerns raised by law enforcement officials and others, reports the Times Free Press.

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Advancing bill broadens mandate for reporting mental health commitments

Many persons involuntarily committed to mental health institutions currently are not reported to the TBI for inclusion in the database of those ineligible to buy a gun because of a quirk in Tennessee law that would be eliminated by pending legislation, reports the Johnson City Press.

As things stand now, mental health hospitals licensed under Title 33 of Tennessee Code Annotated are mandated to report involuntary commitments. But hospitals licensed under Title 68 – including general acute care hospitals that have a psychiatric wing – are not.

SB2365, introduced as a caption bill, has been amended in committee “to fix this loophole,” the article says. Sponsors are Sen. Rusty Crowe (R-Johnson City) and Rep. Cameron Sexton (R-Crossville) and the TBI is advocating the measure as amended.

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House GOP leader: Leave bump stock ban to the feds

House Republican leaders have declared there’s no need for Tennessee’s legislature to pass a Democrat-sponsored bill banning firearm “bump stocks” because it’s being handled at the federal level, as U.S. General Jeff Sessions mentioned in a Nashville speech, according to The Tennessean.

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Reports of guns in TN schools running at double national average

Tennessee has double the national rate of kids caught bringing a gun or possessing one at school, state Education Commissioner Candice McQueen told the opening session of Gov. Bill Haslam’s working group on school safety on Thursday. At the same time, the state currently has just 865 school resource officers assigned to protect an estimated 1 million children in the state’s schools.

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House votes to cut fine for carrying gun without a permit from $500 to $250

The state House voted 70-20 Monday evening  to reduce maximum first-offense penalties for carrying a handgun without a state-issued permit from $500 to $250. The Times Free Press reports the vote came despite criticism from Democrats and concerns from the Haslam administration as well as some law enforcement officials and others.

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Haslam appoints school security task force

Gov. Bill Haslam speaks at a press conference at the state Capitol in Nashville on March 1, 2018. (Erik Schelzig, Tennessee Journal)

Republican Gov. Bill Haslam has announced a 17-member task force to evaluate ways to improve school safety in Tennessee.

The governor has asked the  group chaired by Safety Commissioner David Purkey  to “move quickly in making practical recommendations” before the end of the current legislative session.

UPDATE: Senate Minority Leader Lee Harris (D-Memphis) criticized the governor for setting up “a solid Republican task force on an issue where bipartisan consensus is sorely needed.”

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GOP gubernatorial candidates differ — or dodge — on Trump’s gun law proposals

Excerpt from a story by the AP’s Jonathan Mattise:

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — In gun-friendly Tennessee, President Donald Trump’s ideas to ban bump stocks and bar people under 21 from buying semi-automatic guns have put the leading GOP candidates for governor in a tough spot. In response, they have mostly avoided taking firm stances.

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Legislators eye TN teachers with guns and/or putting more police in schools

A bill that sets the stage for some teachers to carry guns in Tennessee schools cleared a House subcommittee on Wednesday on a party-line vote while a bipartisan group of lawmakers held a news conference to propose having the state pay off-duty police officers $50 an hour to patrol schools.

The proposal involving teachers with guns may be a strategy to get more professional police in the schools, reports WPLN.

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Haslam backs ban on bump stocks, raising age for gun buys

Gov. Bill Haslam declared his support for banning “bump stock” gun modifications and for raising the legal age for purchase of semi-automatic firearms in a Washington, D.C., speech from 18 to 21, reports WBIR TV. President Trump has supported both notions.

“It’s just crazy to me that you can’t buy a beer at 19, but you can buy an AR-15,” Haslam said during a speech at the breakfast event at the Pew Charitable Trusts Friday.

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Haslam ‘not certain about arming teachers’ while planning statewide school safety review

Gov. Bill Haslam, who last week said his administration plans a statewide review of school security in light of a recent mass shooting at a Florida high school, is quoted in a Sunday Politico story headlined, Governors to Washington: Stop dithering on guns.

The article is based on comments from state chief executives gathered for a weekend meeting in Washington of the National Governors Association meeting in downtown Washington.  An excerpt:

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