MURFREESBORO, TN (WSMV) – A bill making its way through the state legislature would allow college students with handgun carry permits to bring guns on public campuses.
HB2102/SB2288 says “As introduced, authorizes a registered student at a public institution of higher education to carry a handgun in a concealed manner on property owned, operated, or controlled by that institution if the student is a handgun carry permit holder and otherwise in compliance with state law. - Amends TCA Title 39, Chapter 17, Part 13 and Title 49.”
Supporters say it’s for personal safety, but opponents argue the proposal could be dangerous.
“I think anybody that wants to protect themselves should be able to protect themselves,” an MTSU student who didn’t want to give his name said.
“I thought that it sounded dangerous. I was kind of worried about it.” Genevieve Oliver, another MTSU student said.
The bill looking to give students the option said they would have to conceal their guns. Students could only carry if they attend a state-run college.
They aren’t the only ones speaking up.
“Almost any professor you’ll talk to has had an interaction with a student that’s painful that’s involved tears and a lot of emotion and the possibility of having those with a student whose armed is frankly pretty terrifying,” Dr. Pippa Holloway, President for the Tennessee University Faculty Senates said.
Dr. Holloway is also a history professor at MTSU. Tennessee University Faculty Senates represents more than 10,000 faculty members across the state.
"I don’t think I’d stop doing my job, but I’d be worried I’d be less effective at doing it,” Dr. Holloway said.
A state law that went into effect in 2016 allows staff and faculty to be armed on campus. Extending that to students is mixed.
“It’s creating a situation in which something like a school shooting is more likely to happen,” Oliver said.
“I don’t see why students would be any different from the teachers that are allowed to carry,” the student who wished to remain anonymous said.
The bill still has a long way to go before it reaches Governor Bill Lee’s desk.
In the House, it’s been assigned to the Constitutional Protections & Sentencing Subcommittee. In the Senate, it’s been referred to the Senate Education Committee.