Tennessee teacher of the year calls for gun control

AP Photo/John Amis

The state of Tennessee has a lot of discussion coming up. You don’t see young children gunned down by a maniac and people simply not talk about it.

The state is pretty rabidly pro-gun, however. As a result, a lot of the arguments being presented aren’t necessarily gun control.


For the 2023 teacher of the year in the state, though, that’s a problem.

In the wake of the fatal shooting at a Nashville, Tennessee, schoolMelissa Collins, who was named the 2023 Tennessee Teacher of the Year, said she is heartbroken.

“As a nation, we lost three children, babies, and three staff members, and not only was it a loss for Tennessee, but it was also a loss for our country,” Collins, a Memphis second grade teacher, told ABC News, visibly holding back tears.

Collins vowed to continue teaching, but she said that she sat in her classroom until 8 p.m. Monday night reflecting on the emotional day. The massacre may prompt legislators to push for more guns on school campuses, according to Collins.

“I don’t have a hand to carry a gun,” Collins said. “My hands are full because I am carrying our future leaders.”

“It’s time to come together to create stricter gun control laws,” she said, adding, “whenever you enter a building, you’re hoping that children and staff members can return home. And so we need policymakers to really think about ways to protect us [teachers]. We need you, policymakers, to come together and get it right because we deserve better. We deserve to be safe.”


Yeah, that’s not going to happen.

Look, Collins may be a hell of a teacher, but that doesn’t give her any relevant expertise on gun policy. I get awfully sick of the media putting a microphone in people’s faces, wanting their take on a complex issue they don’t necessarily understand, just to try and keep a particular narrative marching.

And honestly, I’m more than a little annoyed by one of the comments Collins made:

“I don’t have a hand to carry a gun,” Collins said. “My hands are full because I am carrying our future leaders.”

Oh my sweet and fluffy lord, is it possible for her to sound more trite?

Look, no one is saying teachers aren’t important. However, if she can’t be bothered to carry the means to defend herself, that’s her call. My issue isn’t with her making it, but that she seems to think her “carrying our future leaders” somehow means the rest of us have to give up our rights so she can delude herself into thinking she’s safer.

Let’s remember that California has the most extensive gun control laws in the nation, but we spent January talking about how useless those laws turned out to be after two high-profile mass shootings.


Tennessee isn’t likely to capitulate just because a teacher, even the current teacher of the year, thinks they should.

Moreover, I suspect that while Collins isn’t interested in carrying a gun because she’s single-handedly carrying the fate of the universe or something–yes, that comment really annoyed the hell out of me–there are a lot of teachers out there who would gladly carry a firearm to defend themselves and, by extension, their students.

If she doesn’t want that, that’s fine. I support the right of every teacher to decide for themselves.

But that means they all get to make that decision, not let a handful decide for everyone.

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