Firearms Bill For Tennessee Private Schools Moves Forward To Education Administration Committee (Update 2.12.24)

***Update 2.12.24 – HB1631 has been placed on the calendar to be heard by the House Education Administration Committee on 2/14/24. To voice your support or opposition to HB1631, find the committee members contact info HERE and contact them prior to their meeting.***

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The Tennessee Conservative Staff –

Legislation that would allow Tennessee private schools to create a policy for allowing handguns on campus has been recommended for passage by the House Civil Justice Committee and has been referred to the House Education Administration Committee.

House Bill 1631 (HB1631), sponsored by State Representative Gino Bulso (R-Brentwood-District 61), clarifies that “a private school serving students in any of the grades pre-K through 12 is authorized to adopt a handgun carry policy for the private school’s property.”

Current state law already allows private schools that serve grades K-12 to have a firearms policy.

House Bill 1631 passed the House Civil Justice Committee, chaired by State Representative Andrew Farmer (R-Sevierville-District 17), by a voice vote with ayes prevailing.

Only Vice-Chair Darren Jernigan (D-Old Hickory-District 60) and Representative Torrey Harris (D-Memphis-District 91) requested to be recorded as voting against the bill.

Because Chairman Farmer chose to use a voice vote to hide the voting records of committee members from public scrutiny, we can only assume Farmer supports HB1631 and is responsible for its passage. Chairman Farmer could have used a transparent roll call vote, but opted for a voice vote to shield committee members and himself from accountability and, in this case, responsibility for the passage of a conservative bill’s passage out of the committee.

According to a statement made by Representative Jody Barrett (R-Dickson-District 69) on the Mill Creek View Tennessee Podcast, all a legislator has to do in order to have their voice vote recorded is give a thumbs up or a thumbs down to the clerk. This means that it is very easy for legislators to put their vote on the record and create transparency with their constituents if they choose to.

We will continue to follow this bill as it works its way through the legislative process and report any and all updates on its progress.

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