Maddow Blog | Tennessee Republicans agree to let teachers carry guns in schools

It was about a year ago when a gunman killed six people — three children and three staffers — at the Covenant School in Nashville, and much of the public looked to Tennessee’s Republican-dominated state legislature for solutions. State lawmakers had plenty of options to address gun violence.

Legislators, for example, could’ve taken steps to protect the public by considering a red flag law. Republican lawmakers also had the option of expanding background checks or advancing an assault weapons ban.

A year later, the GOP majority in Nashville finally agreed to take action, though the measure Republicans advanced probably wasn’t what reformers had in mind in the wake of the deadly mass shooting. NBC News reported:

Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee hasn’t formally announced his intentions with regard to the bill, but it’s widely believed that the Republican will sign it into law.

A local report from The Tennessean added, “Armed teachers, who will be required to undergo training that some opponents have argued is not intensive enough, will be allowed to carry handguns in their classrooms and in most campus situations without informing parents and most of their colleagues they’re armed.”

What could possibly go wrong.

The entire effort is rooted in the idea that schools would be safer if educators — whom the right has a nasty habit of demonizing — carried firearms. The solution to children getting shot in schools, in other words, is to put more guns in schools.

If this sounds at all familiar, it’s not your imagination. About six years ago, after a mass shooting at a high school in Parkland, Florida, Donald Trump pushed the idea of arming teachers, coaches, and principals, adding that this “could very well solve your problem.”

As I noted in my first book (see chapter 8), the then-president was quite serious about this, insisting that “20% of teachers” are “adept” with firearms — a number he apparently made up — and would therefore be prepared to engage gunmen and neutralize them in the event of a school shooting.

The Republican added online, “ATTACKS WOULD END! ... Problem solved.”

This was dumb at the time. It’s no better now. Nevertheless, NBC News’ report concluded, “Tennessee isn’t the only state to approve legislation allowing teachers to carry guns. According to the Giffords Law Center, a gun violence prevention group, at least 26 states have laws permitting teachers or other school employees to possess guns on school grounds, with some exceptions.”

This article was originally published on