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Tennessee House bill for gun safety in public schools passes

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Memphis-Shelby County School parents said they want firearm safety to be addressed, but the person responsible for teaching students is where they disagree.

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Tennessee House Bill 2882, teaching students firearm safety, is set to become law. The Republican-sponsored bill received bipartisan support in both the House and Senate.

Tennessee House Representative Chris Todd said he’s pushing this bill to help prevent injuries from firearms.

“It is important for our young people to be aware of the proper precautions that should be taken if they encounter a firearm. This legislation will ensure students in Tennessee receive this valuable safety information during their school years as determined by leaders in education,” Todd said. “The bill also includes guidelines to make sure the curriculum remains strictly informative and not political in any nature. This is an additional way we can help prevent injuries and increase safety across Tennessee.” 

Memphis-Shelby County School parents said they want firearm safety to be addressed, but the person responsible for teaching students is where they have different viewpoints.

“I respect that people want to bear arms, and that’s fine,” MSCS parent Jennifer Byerly Farrell said. “But I don’t feel that anyone else but me should be teaching my children about gun safety.”

MSCS grandparent Ann Haire thinks children should learn about gun safety and “be taught early about the dangers of firearms.” But she also said she doesn’t think young people should see firearms, which aligns with the bill.

As it’s written, the legislation would require teaching public school students:

  • safe storage of firearms,
  • school safety relating to firearms,
  • how to avoid injury,
  • to never touch a firearm,
  • notify an adult if you a student finds a firearm,
  • and for educators to provide neutral viewpoints on political topics surrounding gun rights.

“It’ll educate the kids. Maybe some of them will learn to stay away from the guns,” MSCS grandparent Frank Bennett said.

However, Byerly Farrell said she doesn’t allow her children to go places where this education would need to be taught in-school.

“I’m never going to have my children around guns,” she said. “I don’t like guns. I don’t own guns. If my kids want to go to someone’s house, I ask the parent if they own guns, and if they do, I generally don’t let my kids go.”

Once the bill is signed by the governor, it’s set to begin during the 2025-2026 school year. So, students in Tennessee still have one more year without the added lessons.

The wait gives the state time to figure out details as far as what grade level the firearm safety training will begin in and continue through high school graduation.



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