Tennessee Firearms Association: “Candidates need to talk to more teachers about whether they are willing to protect themselves, their students and their colleagues”
Editor’s Note: This editorial is included in light of last weeks shooting at a Texas High School ,which left at least 10 people dead. The incident adds more fuel to the nation’s debate over guns, which was already inflamed by a gunman killing 14 students and three adults on February 14, 2018 at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla
John Harris, Executive Director of the Tennessee Firearms Association, is encouraging Tennessee’s candidates for Governor to listen to more teachers before they speak for teachers. Harris was referring to the issue of whether teachers who have been issued a civilian handgun carry permit would be willing to get additional training and carry on campus in order to protect themselves, their students and their colleagues in the event of a school shooting situation.
During the gubernatorial forum on May 15, 2018, three of the five major candidates participating (Congresswoman Diane Black was absent) indicated that they opposed allowing trained and permitted teachers to carry their weapons on school grounds as an additional line of protection in the event of a shooting incident on campus. Democrats Craig Fitzhugh and Karl Dean joined Republican Beth Harwell as all indicated that they did not support allowing teachers to be armed. Republicans Bill Lee and Randy Boyd both supported allowing teachers, who wished to do so, and were certified and trained, to carry firearms into their schools.
“What was disturbing, aside from their unwillingness to increase security in our schools,
was that at least two of the candidates indicated that they didn’t know of any teachers willing to be armed on their campuses,” Harris pointed out. “Both Boyd and Dean claimed that they had not met or talked to any teacher willing to carry a weapon on school grounds — despite the fact that many teachers across the state already legally carry in some counties and more are willing to do so if the law permitted them to do so.”
Harris pointed out that a Professional Educators of Tennessee, PET, (www.proedtn.org) conducted a survey of over 1400 Tennessee teachers earlier this year. www.proedtn.org/resource/resmgr/docs/2018_School_Safety_Survey/TN_School_Safety_Survey.pdf That survey indicated that over half the teachers had carry permits and 47 percent were willing to undergo additional training and carry their weapons on campus if allowed to do so. http://tennesseestar.com/2018/03/15/professional-educators-of-tennessees-teacher-survey-reveals-widespread-reliance-on-unarmed-student-resource-officers/
J.C. Bowman, Executive Director of PET said that there are a large number of teachers across the state who have already been issued handgun carry permits, with many of them being former military or former law enforcement personnel.
“We sent our survey results to every candidate for Governor, Republican and Democrat, and they should all be aware that there are hundreds of teachers who are in fact willing and able to do what it takes to increase the safety of our schools, including carrying their own weapons on campus,” Bowman noted. “Instead of listening to education bureaucrats and politically correct anti-second Amendment advisors, we encourage all of the candidates to talk to more of the rank and file teachers and regular citizens across the state as they develop their public policy positions,” Harris concluded. “TFA would be happy to host a meeting for any of these candidate with gun owning teachers and citizens to help them better understand the reality of what Tennesseans really think and believe when it comes to the Second Amendment and protecting ourselves and our families.”