Starting today, as communities continue to mourn the lives of the three children and three staff members killed during the mass shooting at The Covenant School, Tennessee lawmakers are advancing several dangerous gun bills that could put Tennesseans at risk for even more gun violence. This afternoon, as thousands of young people, advocates, survivors, faith leaders, and teachers rally for change in Nashville, the Tennessee House will vote on HB1202, a bill that would make it easier to arm teachers. Research shows that arming teachers increases the risk of gun violence in schools and puts the lives of students, teachers, and law enforcement in danger. Throughout the legislative session, students, teachers, survivors, and other key stakeholders have testified in staunch opposition to this policy.
On Tuesday, committees in both the House and Senate will hear HB1005 and SB1503, legislation that would lower the age for permit less carry from 21 to 18, a policy that would effectively put more guns in more spaces while allowing people to carry loaded firearms without a background check. As gun violence continues to plague communities across the state, this policy has the potential to open the door to even more gun violence in the state.
Following the tragedy at the Covenant School, Tennessee Students Demand Action and Moms Demand Action volunteers, gun violence survivors, and community members have mobilized to demand lifesaving action from lawmakers. Two weeks ago, students in Memphis, Nashville, and across the entire country staged walkouts in protest of lawmaker inaction. Shortly after, Republican Governor Bill Lee finally called for meaningful change, urging lawmakers to pass an Extreme Risk Protection law — a policy that could potentially have prevented the Nashville shooting.
Rather than heeding calls from the Governor and the public, state lawmakers are instead actively choosing to endanger Tennesseans — ramming through reckless bills to weaken gun safety standards in the state while planning to adjourn three weeks ahead of schedule, taking an early vacation and leaving their citizens in more danger.
Their inaction is being met with fierce opposition. Today, Tennessee Students Demand Action and Moms Demand Action volunteers, part of Every town for Gun Safety’s grassroots networks, will join Repairers of the Breach and other community partners for a Moral Monday rally beginning at McKendree United Methodist Church and ending outside of the Tennessee State Capitol. They’ll descend on the capitol to urge lawmakers to do their jobs and protect their constituents.