A bill is gaining steam in Tennessee that would allow teachers and other staff members with a background in policing to carry guns in schools. The Tennessean reports the measure is a compromise between those who want all teachers to be allowed to carry guns, and those who want to increase the number of armed security guards in Volunteer State schools.
The bill would allow school personnel who have worked as police officers to get certification allowing them to bring their weapons to work. Gov. Bill Haslam backs the plan, saying it strikes a good balance between cost considerations, school safety, and local control.
House Bill 6 is moving its way through legislative committees in Nashville and could reach the floors of the state House and Senate before the session adjourns next week.
A proposal meant to put more armed guards in Tennessee schools has begun moving forward in the General Assembly. It offers money for schools to hire retired police officers and allows teachers with law enforcement backgrounds to carry a gun to class.
Whether a retired officer hired part-time as a security guard or a teacher already on the payroll, both would have to go through at least 40 hours of special training.
The legislation has the backing of Governor Bill Haslam and has trumped other proposals aimed at more broadly allowing teachers to go armed to class.
Some Republicans still want to mandate armed guards in every school, but others say the only reason they support this bill is because it doesn’t. Rep. Ryan Haynes of Knoxville says schools aren’t as dangerous as they’re made out to be.
Kentucky Senator Rand Paul is lending his name to a conservative gun rights group that's targeting fellow Republicans.
The group, the National Association for Gun Rights, is running ads against two Congressmen in Virginia, including House Minority leader Eric Cantor, saying they gave in too easily to President Obama's gun control measures. They also say the National Rifle Association is too willing to compromise on gun rights.
The state Senate on Monday overwhelmingly passed a nullification bill that would prohibit Kentucky from enforcing new federal gun control laws if they're enacted, despite concerns about the bill's constitutionality.
The vote was 34-3. Three of the Senate's 14 Democrats voted no, stating that the measure would be trumped by the U.S. Constitution's Supremacy Clause.
Sen. Jared Carpenter, a Berea Republican, sponsored the bill. He said the Supremacy Clause applies only if Congress is acting in pursuit of its constitutionally authorized powers, which he said wouldn't apply to stricter gun measures.
"If I thought the bill would be symbolic, I would've written a resolution," Carpenter told the Associated Press. "I thought it needed more than that."
Hoping to reduce gun violence in Kentucky, two Democratic lawmakers have filed a bill that would allow Kentucky State Police to set regulations banning certain firearms or high-capacity magazines.
The bill, which state Sen. Kathy Stein plans to file in the Senate on Thursday, would also allow cities and colleges to ban guns and would require private background checks for every gun sale in Kentucky.
Stein, a Democrat from Lexington, said she's not seeking to infringe on Second Amendment rights from the U.S. Constitution.
"We value the Second Amendment," Stein said. " We recognize that there are very legitimate uses people have for guns, for sporting, for hunting and yes, for self-protection."
The bill's supporters say they are optimistic for a hearing in the short 2013 General Assembly session.
U.S. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell is questioning whether Democrats, including Majority Leader Harry Reid, really want to see gun control legislation pass this year.
Politico reports McConnell, a Republican from Louisville, said it was "unclear yet as to whether the majority leader wants to bring a gun measure to the floor."
Reid dismissed the notion, saying a gun bill will come out of the Senate Judiciary Committee. Reid wouldn't say whether or not he supports an assault weapons ban proposed by California Democratic Senator Dianne Feinstein.
U.S. Sen. Rand Paul said he'll examine President Obama's just-announced executive orders to see if the president has overstepped his authority — and, if he believes so, will introduce legislation to overturn the orders.
“Executive orders can be overturned and cannot run afoul of legislation that is the current law, if he tries to create legislation, I will oppose him,” Paul said on Wednesday.
Obama on Wednesday announced 23 executive actions aimed at reducing gun violence, plus a push for new legislation.
Paul made his comments as the president was unveiling his plans, prefacing them by saying he wasn’t sure of all the details.
Paul said he believes if he has to submit legislation to overturn the president, he would win the support of Republicans and Democrats.
Kentucky House Speaker Greg Stumbo is joining calls for a nation debate about gun issues in the wake of the Newtown, Conn., elementary school shootings, and also said that violent video games are a cause of such violence.
Stumbo says he’s a lifelong National Rifle Association member and an avid outdoorsman — and he has helped many NRA-friendly bills pass in Kentucky. But he’s joining other rural Democrats in their call for a discussion on gun control.
“But I join Sen. Joe Manchin in saying that it’s time for America to have an adult discussion about what happened and what needs to happen to keep those events from happening in the future,” Stumbo said.
Gov. Steve Beshear expressed similar sentiments after the Newtown shooting, which left 27 people dead at Sandy Hook Elementary School, including the shooter.
Stumbo did not go into details about what proposals he would favor.