On Monday, Tennessee — which, coincidentally, is one of the only states with an official state gun — passed a law that lets college faculty and staff cary guns on campus. According to the Tennessean, rather than signing the bill outright, the state's governor, Bill Haslam, decided to let campuses make their own decisions on security issues.
Although the law doesn't allow even students with permits to carry guns on campus, it does permit some 27,000 full-time faculty and staff members of the state's public colleges to carry a weapon on college property, including in classrooms and lecture halls.
"It's not an effort to create an armed battalion on campus but to allow individuals to protect and defend themselves"
Republican Andy Holt
It does include some restrictions: employees who want to come to campus armed would have to conceal their weapon and would need to notify local law enforcement of its presence. They'd also be barred from carrying a weapon into stadiums during school-sponsored events and into meetings "regarding discipline or tenure." What's more, the permit-holder — and not the university — would be liable were the gun to accidentally discharge. And Tennessee's law is more conservative than laws in states like Texas, which do allow students to come to campus armed.
The bill's House sponsor, Republican Andy Holt, said its purpose is to make campuses safer. "It's not an effort to create an armed battalion on campus but to allow individuals to protect and defend themselves," he said.
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New Tennessee law lets college faculty, staff carry guns on campus
People hold up signs as they attend a rally against gun violence, Thursday, Sept. 10, 2015, on Capitol Hill in Washington. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)
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A demonstrator helps hold a large "Come and Take It" banner at a rally in support of open carry gun laws at the Capitol, Monday, Jan. 26, 2015, in Austin, Texas. (AP Photo/Eric Gay)
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The Big Boyz Gun store is seen August 28, 2015, in Blue Ridge, Virginia. With mass shootings seemingly on a daily basis, it appears no place in the United States is safe from carnage: not churches, not schools, not even the morning newscast.The shocking on-air murder of a young reporter and a cameraman by a disgruntled former colleague August 26, 2015 has once again renewed calls for stricter gun controls.That is simply not going to happen, experts said, and the trend in recent years has actually gone in the opposite direction.'You can't get rid of them,' Harry Wilson, a professor at Roanoke College in Virginia -- near the scene of the latest shooting -- told AFP. AFP PHOTO/PAUL J. RICHARDS (Photo credit should read PAUL J. RICHARDS/AFP/Getty Images)
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Gun rights lobbyists and gun owners rally in support of concealed carry gun legislation in front of the Illinois State Capitol March 5, 2014 in Springfield Ill. Supporters hold their first rally since concealed carry legislation was passed, and within days of the first permits being issued in Illinois, gun rights advocates are expected to be in a celebratory mood, outlining efforts to tweak current concealed carry legislation, and work against any efforts to implement an assault weapons ban. (AP Photo/Seth Perlman)
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Conley Hennigan wears a holstered banana with "glock" written on it, during a rally in support of open carry gun laws at the Capitol, Monday, Jan. 26, 2015, in Austin, Texas. (AP Photo/Eric Gay)
FILE - In this March 4, 2013 file photo, opponents of proposed gun control bills being considered by the Colorado Legislature hold signs to those passing in cars, in front of the State Capitol, in Denver. When a gunman opened fire inside a packed movie theater in July of 2012, killing 12, it helped revive the national debate over gun control. But, as the trial of theater shooter James Holmes is scheduled to begin Monday, April 27, 2015, Coloradoâs gun debate has quieted down. âItâs in a sort of gridlock,â said nonpartisan Denver pollster Floyd Ciruli. (AP Photo/Brennan Linsley, file)
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Gun-rights activists celebrate Patriots' Day at the steps of the Utah capital in Salt Lake City on Saturday, April 19, 2014. The rally focused on supporting the Second Amendment right to own firearms. About a dozen of the attendees carried long rifles and assault weapons, while a few others had holstered pistols. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)
Sharon Mausey sells hats and shirts supporting concealed carry gun legislation to gun rights lobbyists and gun owners at the Prairie Capitol Convention Center Wednesday, March 5, 2014 in Springfield Ill. Participants will march through Springfield to the state Capitol's for a rally before lobbying various representatives. It's the first rally since concealed carry legislation was passed, and within days of the first permits being issued in Illinois. (AP Photo/Seth Perlman)
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In this Saturday, Aug. 15, 2015 photo, mourners hold candles at a vigil on Nevada Capitol grounds in Carson City, Nev., honoring fallen Carson City deputy Carl Howell. Howell was killed earlier Saturday after a shootout during a domestic violence call. The suspect in the confrontation died on the scene. (AP Photo/Michelle Rindels)
Sherwood Police Lt. Jamie Michaels, left, and Detective Heather Meadows read accounts of domestic violence placed on painted cutouts after a news conference at the Arkansas state Capitol in Little Rock, Ark., Monday, July 20, 2015. Arkansas lawmakers Monday said measures approved by the Legislature earlier this year are aimed at preventing domestic violence and helping victims. (AP Photo/Danny Johnston)
A woman protests against domestic violence as she joins other women's rights advocates in an International Women's Day march in downtown Los Angeles, California on March 8, 2015. AFP PHOTO/ MARK RALSTON (Photo credit should read MARK RALSTON/AFP/Getty Images)
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Tobias Summers sits in court before the verdict is read at Los Angeles Superior Court Friday, Sept. 4, 2015. Summers has been found guilty of repeatedly raping a 10-year-old girl after kidnapping her at knifepoint from her Los Angeles bedroom before letting her go and fleeing to Mexico. (AP Photo/Nick Ut)
Looking in the direction of the victim's family, former St. Paul's School student Owen Labrie, right, enters the courtroom with his defense attorney J.W. Carney for closing remarks in Labrie's rape trial at Merrimack Superior Court Thursday, Aug. 27, 2015, in Concord, N.H. Labrie is charged with raping a 15-year-old freshman as part of Senior Salute, in which seniors try to romance and have intercourse with underclassmen before leaving the prestigious St. Paul's School in Concord. The defense contends the two had consensual sexual contact but not intercourse. (AP Photo/Cheryl Senter, Pool)
Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, responsible for Boston Marathon bombing, was sentenced to death on May 15, 2015.
(AP Photo/Federal Bureau of Investigation, File)
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Colorado theater shooter James Holmes is led out of the courtroom after being formally sentenced on Wednesday, Aug. 26, 2015 in Centennial, Colo. Holmes was sentenced to life in prison without parole by Judge Carlos Samour Jr. Holmes killed 12 people and injured 70 others in the July 20, 2012 ambush. (RJ Sangosti/The Denver Post via AP, Pool)
District Attorney George Brauchler, backed by the families of those killed and wounded, speaks with members of the media after Colorado movie theater shooter James Holmes was formally sentenced, outside Arapahoe County District Court in Centennial, Colo., Wednesday, Aug. 26, 2015. Holmes was sentenced to multiple life sentences without parole for perpetrating the July 20, 2012 attack that left 12 dead and 70 wounded. (AP Photo/Brennan Linsley)
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But opponents of the law say that, not only will it fail to make campus any safer, it could complicate how police handle active shooter situations. "If there were an incident or shooting on campus, they would not be able to tell who has a gun legally and who is committing a crime," Monica Greppin-Watts, the communications director for the Tennessee Board of Regents, told the Tennessean in March, adding that the Tennessee Association of Police Chiefs agreed the law would decrease campus safety.
They also say that in passing the law, Tennessee lawmakers ignored input from campus police chiefs. "This will require them to scrap their FBI training protocol when it comes to responding to an active shooter situation," said Beth Joslin Roth, policy director of Safe Tennessee Project. "But, in our state, the gun lobby is more influential than law enforcement."