A measure expanding access to firearms on public college campuses passed the House Civil Justice Committee this week on a 6-3 party line vote. Sponsored by Rep. Dennis Powers (R-Jacksboro), House Bill 745 would permit part-time employees who have handgun carry permits to carry a concealed weapon on campus. The bill, which was originally narrowly tailored to security guards and aimed at community colleges, has undergone sweeping changes in recent weeks as it makes its way through the House. The University of Tennessee and other higher education stakeholders, as well as the law enforcement community, are opposed to the bill. Last year, higher education, law enforcement, and gun advocates reached a rare compromise to limit the expansion of guns on campus to full-time employees and require registration with campus and local law enforcement. Some have raised questions about violating the spirit of last year’s agreement, but the bill has moved forward nonetheless.
The bill won’t progress straight to the House floor. The bill has been referred to the House Education Administration and Planning Committee—requiring the bill to undergo another round of committee consideration. The Education Administration and Planning Committee has not yet calendared the legislation, but we anticipate it will take the matter up in coming weeks. Similarly, the bill has not yet been calendared in the Senate.
Although the bill is not on notice next week, action is anticipated by both Houses in the coming weeks. Stay tuned for more information.Tags: guns on campus