JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (WJH) — Johnson City School Board Chair Kathy Hall spoke about a Tennessee bill that would allow teachers to conceal carry firearms at public schools under certain requirements.

“We’ll work with whatever the legislature passes, but I really hope that they’re putting students first,” said Hall.

HB 1202 says that in order to carry, teachers must have:

  • a valid handgun carry permit
  • authorization by local law enforcement
  • completed at least 40 hours “basic training in school policing”

Teachers would also have to complete at least 40 hours of training each year to continue to carry gun on school grounds.

Hall pointed to school resource officers, or SROs.

“I think personally and we as a board support SROs and I think that’s probably the best use of dollars and the best way to keep our school safe is to have a qualified, trained SRO in the school,” said Hall.

The bill’s sponsor, Rep. Ryan Williams (R-Cookeville), says the bill would especially be helpful for rural communities with limited funding for SROs.

“This would give you an opportunity to find a different pathway with training, background checks, fingerprints, mental evaluation,” said Williams.

While she does see how this could be helpful in rural communities, Hall says this is not what Johnson City needs.

“Having additional guns in a school is not something that I would encourage,” said Hall.

The bill will be voted on in the House on Thursday. It has been deferred in the Senate until the next session starting January 2024.

You can read more about this bill by following this link.