The School Newspaper of Cherry Hill High School East


The School Newspaper of Cherry Hill High School East


The School Newspaper of Cherry Hill High School East


Tennessee Legislature Allows Teachers to Carry Firearms

Graphic by the NIHCM depicting US gun violence statistics in 2023

At 10:13 a.m. on March 27, 2023, six students and staff of The Covenant School in Nashville, Tennessee were slain in a school shooting that shocked the nation. The community, shaken by tragedy, cried out for change from their lawmakers. As they grieved and wept, gun control issues were discussed in the Tennessee legislature over the following year. Their solution? To allow teachers to carry concealed firearms in schools.

Despite massive protests by Tennessee parents and gun-control advocates, the Tennessee legislature passed a bill on Tuesday, April 23 that allows teachers and staff to carry concealed handguns in schools, marking a pivotal turn in the state’s debate over gun control. The conflict echoes larger, country-wide disputes over Second Amendment rights after a slew of mass shootings over the past year.

Concerns were raised regarding the shrouded nature of the bill, which will hide the identity of any teacher who decides to carry a firearm in school. Essentially, parents will be unable to know which teachers have guns or even if there are guns present in their children’s schools. The bill also does not hold school districts liable for any injury, damage, or death that results from teachers carrying guns. While many State Republicans claimed that arming teachers would deter potential shooters, anti-gun opposition argued that adding more guns to the equation would only exacerbate the situation, increasing the risk of an accident or a firearm falling into the hands of the wrong person.

“This is our reaction to students and teachers being murdered in a school?” said Tennessee State Rep. Bo Mitchell in a quote from The Washington Post. “Our reaction is to throw more guns at it. What’s wrong with us?”

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Furthermore, statistics show that firearms pose more of a threat to their owners than potential wrongdoers. According to the National Institute for Health Care Management (NIHCM), 56% of deaths related to gun violence in 2023 were suicides, far exceeding the 1.7% that resulted from mass shootings or even the 35% that were homicides. Firearm carriers are far more likely to harm themselves with their firearm than defend themselves from a potential threat.

It’s absurdly negligent to introduce firearms into a school environment, a place where students are meant to feel safe, not constantly face anxiety at the thought of imminent danger. In order to effectively eliminate gun violence, laws must target the root of the problem rather than fight fire with fire. Most shootings occur as a result of issues that the shooters themselves face including abuse, bullying, loss of the will to live, or mental illnesses. While this never justifies such heinous acts, these root issues must be resolved first if gun violence is ever to be truly eradicated.

While the intentions of the bill may have been noble, the reality is that it’s only fueling the issue of gun violence across the country. After all, teachers are in schools to teach, not to serve as an armed security force.

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