Tennessee legislature sends school safety bill to governor

AP Photo/John Amis

In the aftermath of Nashville, it was pretty clear that lawmakers were going to have to do something. Even if there was no law in the world that could have prevented what happened, they still needed to do something so it looked like they were addressing school safety.


For some people, the only way to do that would be to pass gun control.

However, this is Tennessee. They’re not big fans of gun control there, so they instead decided to address school safety by, you know, addressing school safety.

The bill, proposed by Gov. Bill Lee prior to the shooting in Nashville, passed with bipartisan support. Impacting all schools in the state, not just public schools, it requires them to submit security plans and focused on hardening the facilities, making them far less attractive targets for mass shooters.

Yet some are clearly upset that the plan didn’t include gun control, including the Senate minority leader, Sen. Raumesh Akbari, who said she thought it was a good step forward, but feels that without something like a red flag law, kids will still be killed in school.

I’m going to give Akbari credit, though. Far too many of her fellow Democrats would have opposed this bill because gun control wasn’t included. Akbari didn’t, which is smart.

After all, it makes sense to take the steps we can all agree on before trying to push the more controversial measures.

Note, for example, this bill includes a mandate for bulletproof glass on the first floor of all new and renovated schools as well as at least one double-entry door, but not armed teachers in our educational facilities. I’d love to see the latter, it’s not as easy to pass, even in Tennessee.

Yet I disagree with Akbari’s insinuation that this won’t do the trick.

We already know the Nashville killer looked at another school and dismissed it because security was too tight. Tightening security across the state will protect children there.


I’m sorry, but that’s just the reality.

Further, red flag laws aren’t the slam dunk that many anti-gun voices seem to believe them to be. That’s something I already touched on earlier today.

School safety is important, and I think Tennessee took the right steps. I think other states should take similar steps. We should also look at various ways of hardening our schools so people can’t just walk in off the streets and start gunning down our children.

Tennessee’s guidelines are solid, to say the least, but I can’t help but think there may be more that can be done. Other states creating their own requirements could present all kinds of suggestions that could be implemented to keep our children safe.

That’s kind of the idea behind federalism in the first place, really.

Unfortunately, we all know how rare this will be. Far too many states are so focused on gun control they can’t imagine school safety as being anything but a restriction on our right to keep and bear arms. It’s sad, but it’s where we are.

Tennessee, however, did it right on this one.


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