The sponsor of a bill that would drop gun free zones at Tennessee public university and colleges for employees with carry permits had a quick reaction to threats by some school faculty to leave.
The Senate measure passed that chamber last week in a 28-5 vote while its House companion, backed by Rep. Andy Holt, R-Dresden, carried 69-24 on Wednesday, sending it to the desk of Republican Gov. Bill Haslam.
Over concerns voiced by Rep. Mike Stewart, D-Nashville, among others that some 1,700 faculty members at the University of Tennessee were critical of the measure and could opt to leave, Holt took to social media.
“Lib faculty members threatening to leave if people have their constitutional rights granted on campus? #ByeFelicia,” Holt tweeted Wednesday afternoon.
The bill, SB2376/HB 1736, is a limited campus carry measure that would grant full-time employees of the state’s public colleges and university the ability to carry a concealed handgun so long as they had a permit. Those choosing to do so would have to notify campus police.
Gun control advocates argue that schools should be able to set their own policy on guns, rather than have it mandated by the state legislature.
“The fact that our legislators outright reject the recommendation of law enforcement and ridicule the concerns of administrators, faculty, and students clearly demonstrates that our legislature’s loyalty lies with the NRA, and not with the Tennesseans who will be affected by this bill,” said Beth Joslin Roth, policy director for Safe Tennessee Project.
The National Rifle Association and state gun rights groups support the measure.
The bill is now in the hands of Haslam who has not said whether he will sign it or not.
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