Tennessee Campus Carry Bill Passes Senate, Moves to House Today

Update 4/21/16: Late on Wednesday, after this story was posted, the Tennessee House of Representatives passed the campus carry bill by a vote of 69-24. It is headed to Gov. Bill Haslam for signing.

We've reported recently on Tennessee's efforts at legalizing campus carry, and the bill that would do so was just approved by the state senate on Tuesday. The bill would allow faculty and workers with concealed carry permits to be armed on the state's public colleges and universities.

The bill passed with a solid 28-5 vote and now heads to the Tennessee House of Representatives, where it is expected to be voted on today, according to this story from the Times Free Press.

Sponsored by Sen. Mike Bell (R-Riceville), the bill has raised concerns from Republican Gov. Bill Haslam about the measure not allowing individual institutions to opt out of allowing guns on their campuses.

"I think some of these people need to take their medication," Bell said of a survey of faculty at the University of Tennessee in Knoxville that are largely opposed to the measure. "Maybe this will give UT a chance to hire some conservative teachers if we have a mass exodus of some of these liberals who responded to this."

We reported that a bill proposed by the student senate at the University of Memphis that opposed the campus carry legislation failed when put to a vote.

The story says that under the bill, university staff and faculty would be banned from carrying firearms at stadiums or gyms during school-sponsored events, meetings where disciplinary or tenure issues are being discussed, in hospitals or medical or mental health offices, and any other locations prohibited by other laws, such as day care centers or elementary schools.

"This is not us trying to take these full-time employees at these public universities and turn them into armed security. This is simply to allow them to defend themselves in situations where they may see fit," said Rep. Andy Holt (R-Desden) in this story from wrcbtv.com.