‘Guns on Campus’ Bill Clears First Committee Hurdle

(Note: Updates and replaces earlier post.)
Legislation that would allow full-time faculty and staff of public colleges and universities to carry handguns on campus – if they hold a handgun carry permit – was approved by a House panel on Wednesday.
As amended by the House Judiciary Subcommittee, HB2016 would also require those who want to carry guns on a campus to undergo an extra two hours of training from the police department that has jurisdiction over the campus where they work. The gun would also have to be kept concealed and on the person of the individual with a permit.
Sponsor Rep. Andy Holt, R-Dresden, said HB2016 would offer an opportunity for trained faculty and staff to protect themselves and others from criminal acts should they occur on campus.
Buddy Peaster, chief of police at Middle Tennessee State University and president of a statewide organization of campus police chiefs, testified against the bill. He said an MTSU student who shot another student on campus in February would have qualified for a handgun carry permit, showing that the permit is not a reliable indicator of safety.
Peaster said universities now “teach the concept of escape” as a means of avoiding violence, which Rep. Barrett Rich, R-Somerville, promptly characterized as saying, “So don’t protect yourself, just run.”
The bill was approved on voice vote and now goes to the full Judiciary Committee. Similar legislation has been proposed for several years, but never before approved by a legislative committee or subcommittee.

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