This morning, the Tennessee House of Representatives took up HB118, commonly known as the “guns-in-trunks” bill. The legislation has varying interpretations in the House and Senate, but the House intent was made crystal clear today as the bill was heard and passed. The Senate interpretation was not made clear when passed on the Senate floor.
The legislation removes the criminal penalty associated with the possession of firearms in secured personal vehicles by valid handgun carry permit holders in areas not prohibited by federal law.
Questions regarding college campuses, specifically the University of Tennessee, were asked of the bill’s sponsor, Rep. Jeremy Faison (R-Cosby), on the House floor.
Rep. Faison clearly stated that the bill does not inhibit the ability of colleges and universities to have and enforce policies regarding weapons on campus.
What does this legislative intent mean for higher education?
College campuses can still set policies regarding weapons on campus for students and employees, regardless of handgun carry permit status. These policies can be enforced up to termination or expulsion.
If students or employees are found in violation of these policies, the bill changes the current law which allows colleges to pursue criminal charges. For valid handgun carry permit holders, criminal charges could not be pursued.