Students, faculty, and law enforcement officials from all parts of the state convened in Nashville Tuesday to debate a controversial bill, under which faculty members would be permitted to carry firearms on Tennessee college campuses.
HB2016/SB399, introduced by Sen. Stacey Campfield (R, Knoxville) is sponsored by Rep. Andy Holt (R, Dresden) in the house.
"I support this bill because it grants the provisions of the 2nd Amendment of the Constitution of the United States," Holt said. "Under the current law, law abiding citizens can't carry a weapon on a campus."
Police officers and students from East Tennessee contend current law is effective. Opponents of the bill argue allowing citizens to carry firearms on campuses would only create more problems during high stress situations.
"It's not like on TV, they don't know what the actor coming at you is going to do," said Gloria Graham, UTPD Chief. "It's a fantasy to believe that in a split second you can react to something you aren't trained to do."
"When I came into this building this morning there was a sign that said 'No firearms.' I don't think the legislators want to conduct the experiment here, I'd appreciate it if they didn't conduct it in my workplace," said Dr. Toby Boulet, a professor of mechanical engineering at UT.
Holt met with Graham, Boulet, and others opposed to the bill during a recess of the House Judiciary Committee to hear their concerns.
He asked the committee that the bill be rolled for two weeks to allow committee members additional time to review proposed amendments.
Holt said he did not want to rush any legislation through the committee.