In July of 2016, Tennessee implemented a law that gun advocates were thrilled about: allowing full-time college and university employees to conceal carry on public campuses. Since the law was implemented, 160 employees across the state have utilized the new law and another 416 have notified the Tennessee Board of Regents of their intent to carry.
Some are now concerned with the state legislature’s latest consideration: expanding the law to include part-time employees. Among those who are opposed to the legislation include the Tennessee Association of Chiefs of Police.
Troy Lane, the University of Tennessee Police Chief and a board member of the Tennessee Association of Chiefs, told Knoxville News Sentinel why he is hesitant on backing the legislation:
“It personally concerns me for several reasons. We already have 160 full-time employees who have notified us of their intent to carry. I am unaware of how or why adding part-time personnel would make our campus safer. Next, there are far fewer ‘knowns’ with part-time employees. While we get to know our fellow full-time employees, the same may not be said for our part-time employees.”
According to the Board of Regents, which oversees more than 40 public universities, community colleges and technical schools, they are unaware of any problems with the legislations.
Although UT-Knoxville has offered optional training to employees who wish to carry on campus, only 15 people have utilized the classes.
“My guess is that since each has to have a handgun permit and have already attended some required training (for their permit), they do not see it as necessary,” said Chief Lane.
While no problems have risen from the law, Lane says “it [the law] has been a burden to the department in some ways with the development of policy, paperwork, training and speaking engagements on campus to explain the law.”
Let’s just hope college and university employees don’t see this as a deterrent and continue to take advantage of the opportunity to carry on campus!