Tag Archives: connecticut

Harwell Against, Haslam Unsure on Teachers With Guns Proposals

House Speaker Beth Harwell said Wednesday she doesn’t believe allowing Tennessee teachers to go armed is the right answer to last week’s massacre of elementary schoolchildren in Connecticut, reports Action Andy Sher.
“I think it would be asking way too much of our teachers for them to be armed in a classroom, and I’m not in favor of going down that route,” Harwell, R-Nashville, told reporters. “I really think you really have to be highly qualified to handle a gun in a high-stress situation, which is in fact what that was.”
A day earlier, Republican Gov. Bill Haslam also raised questions, asking, “What if the teacher doesn’t want to be armed? … There’s just a lot of questions about that to me in terms of how that would work.”
In recent days, two East Tennessee Republican lawmakers have advocated allowing teachers or school staffers to be trained and armed.
In a blog posting, Sen. Stacey Campfield, R-Knoxville, said he “will be bringing back legislation to allow licensed and checked faculty and staff, at schools, to be able to have a gun on campus if a safety officer is not present on campus.”
Newly elected Sen. Frank Niceley, R-Strawberry Plains, has said he is interested in putting law enforcement officers in schools or having “similarly trained” teachers or staffers in schools.
Harwell said she was stating her “personal opinion” and doesn’t know what her GOP colleagues’ thinking is.
But since Friday’s schoolhouse killing of 20 children and six adults by a lone gunman, Harwell noted, “certainly we’ve realized we need additional security in our schools and unfortunately that’s a really sad commentary on our society.”
Asked whether the state should help pay for school resource officers, Harwell said, “I’m not proposing any legislation to that regard. I’m just speaking my personal opinion.”
She said “many times that’s a local decision” to have armed law enforcement on hand at schools.
Haslam told reporters Tuesday that when he was Knoxville mayor, local governments provided money for resource officers in most if not all schools.
“Ultimately that feels more like a local decision than a state decision to me,” Haslam said.

Alexander Blames Violent Video Games, Not Guns, for Massacre

U.S. Sen. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn. — whose 2008 re-election campaign collected $9,900 from the NRA — partially blamed “violent video games and movies” rather than guns for Friday’s massacre of 20 children and six adults at a Connecticut elementary school, according to Chris Carroll.
“We should ask the leaders of the entertainment industry whether they would want their children — or those who might harm their children — to watch the increasingly violent video games and movies that they pour into our culture,” Alexander said Monday. “This is not the only cause of violence in our society, but it is one important cause.”
Some news reports have indicated the 20-year-old Connecticut gunman played violent computer games. Alexander said “we must look closely at the behavior of isolated young men who develop an obsession with violence.”
“The problem is not with the gun, but with the person pulling the trigger.” Alexander’s comments came less than 24 hours after President Barack Obama all but started a national conversation on gun control. “These tragedies must end,” Obama said at a memorial service in Connecticut. “And to end them, we must change.”
Tennessee’s other U.S. senator expressed sympathy but sidestepped specific proposals.
“Given such an unspeakable act of violence perpetrated on children, it’s appropriate to talk about what we’re doing to keep our communities safe, recognizing the issues involved are complex,” said U.S. Sen. Bob Corker, who received $4,950 in National Rifle Association funds this year. “Undoubtedly, every contributing factor will be examined.”

Haslam: Mental Health Services Maybe Better Than New Gun Laws

Preventing a repeat of the Connecticut school shootings may be better addressed through mental health services than new gun laws, Gov. Bill Haslam said Monday.
Haslam, questioned by reporters about the murders, also said his administration will hold a conference on school security next month. He said the discussion could include having more people at schools trained in dealing with violent attacks, as proposed by state Sen. Frank Niceley, R-Strawberry Plains.
Niceley said he is working on legislation that would require all Tennessee schools to either have a “school resource officer” for security – as most high schools do now — or train one or more staff members in use of firearms and dealing with violent attacks.
Haslam said he was sickened by the Connecticut slayings and expects them to trigger “a national debate (on guns) over the next three or four months.” But he was cautious about saying what his position would be in any such discussions.
“I don’t know that a lot of (gun-related) legislation I’ve seen so far that could have stopped what happened there,” he said. “I don’t know that I see a big need to change things.”

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