State Rep. Eric Watson filed legislation on Friday "to allow certain school personnel to undergo specific training to be prepared in case events occur that threaten the safety and lives of children."
He said, “Today, as a state, as a nation, we grieve for the lost of innocence from the events that occurred in a violent outburst on Friday, Dec. 14, 2012. The event was so horrific no words have been invented to satisfactorily describe the horror experienced by the precious elementary students, their principals, their teachers, their parents or the small New England community that will never be the same. There is nothing any of us can do, to ease their pain, or to cause these little children to come back to their family this Christmas.
”Reaction to the tragedy in Sandy Hook (Newtown, Conn.), has increased the debate about how best to protect against school place violence. Watson has begun laying out the frame work for a law that would give local schools an option to allow members of the facility and staff to serve as an added measure to combat an active shooter in their school building. The violence we see spreading from shopping malls in Oregon, to movie theaters in Colorado, to college campuses in Virginia, to elementary schools in Connecticut, is being spawned by the society in which we live. Politicians can no longer be allowed to defend their personal ideological reasoning instead we must protect our children. Parents will no longer tolerate inaction from politicians.
“Our government does all it can to promote business, lower taxes, etc… but now is the time to begin doing all we can to stop the next attack on a movie theater, a shopping mall, a college campus or a elementary class. We must now focus on enforcing our current laws and expanding the use of resources to an unprotected class. The people must know that we will do all we can in Tennessee to protect our children.
"Principals and school leaders in my district have asked me to present legislation that will, under specific guidelines, allow highly trained faculty and staff to carry a weapon in their school. The individuals that choose to do so will have to be a handgun carry permit holder. They will have to get permission from the local LEA and take further training in crisis management and hostile situations. In addition the ammunition in the weapon will have to minimize the risk of ricochet. This legislation will let the individuals who commit these crimes know that in Tennessee, we will protect our children. We must now use every action to solve, prevent, and stop these events from occurring.”
Rep. Watson is chairman of the Judiciary Committee, graduate of the Tennessee Bureau Investigation State Academy- Class President, graduate of the Tennessee Sheriffs School, Graduate of the Tennessee Law Enforcement Academy, graduate of the Tennessee Public School System, Co-Chair of NCSL Law and Criminal Justice Committee, appointed member of the Tennessee Criminal Justice Coordinating Council and as well a detective for the Benton Police Department.
A press conference will be held 2 p.m. on Monday at the Bradley Central High School in Cleveland. Director of Schools, principals and teachers will be present to speak about this bill as well, it was stated.