The Tennessee House of Representatives passed a bill Monday night that makes it illegal to take a squirt gun — but not a real gun — within 150 feet of a school, according to The Tennessean.
The new ban was included in a larger bill (HB995) that would nix any local laws prohibiting people with gun permits from taking guns to parks.
The federal “Guns Free School Zones” act makes it illegal for anyone who doesn’t a have permit from taking a gun within 1,000 feet of a school. If that person has a permit from the state in which the school is located, though, they can take the gun near school property, the law states.
The change to the House bill came in the form of an amendment from Rep. Charles Sargent, R-Franklin. It was the only amendment approved by the House, which voted to have debate on the bill itself before approving the measure by a 65-21 margin.
The amendment says the state doesn’t need to pay to remove signs that say guns are banned in parks. However, it also includes a list of new items that are banned within 150 feet of a school.
“A person commits an offense who intentionally carries an explosive, explosive weapon, permanently disabled firearm, hoax device, imitation firearm, machete, or sword openly within one hundred fifty feet (150′) of the real property that comprises the grounds or facilities of a public or private preschool, elementary school, middle school, or secondary school,” the amendment states in part.
At no point does the amendment mention any ban on real guns near schools; real guns don’t fall under the definition of “explosive weapon,” confirmed House Republican spokesman Cade Cothren.
“The provision pertains only to those who intentionally carry an explosive, explosive weapon, permanently disabled firearm, hoax device, imitation firearm, machete, or sword,” Cothren said.
Cothren noted the federal “Gun Free School Zones” act as to why real guns were not included in the amendment.
“There’s no need to include real guns in the amendment because it is already covered. The amendment added additional weapons to the list that aren’t covered under other areas of state and federal law,” he said.