House Bill 6, referred to as the “School Security Act of 2013”, passed out of the House Education Committee on Tuesday in Nashville. The bill, sponsored by State Representative Eric Watson (R–Cleveland), seeks to prevent school violence by providing faculty with the resources needed to protect Tennessee students.
Rep. Watson said, "As amended, this bill would allow previous or current law enforcement officers across the state to possess a firearm on school property if the person has a handgun carry permit, is authorized in writing by the school superintendent, who is in compliance with all laws, rules and regulations of the peace officer standards and training (POST) commission, and has had at least (40) hours of basic school police training.
“In the wake of the recent tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut, I am committed to doing everything in my power to protect the children and educators of our community. The safety of our schools is essential to the future of our state, and I fully believe this legislation is a giant step in ensuring Tennessee schools are protected on a daily basis.”
The School Security Act of 2013 will next be heard in the House Finance Committee after passing both Civil Justice and Education Committees. If passed there, the bill will be heard in the Calendar and Rules Committee before going to the House floor for a vote by the full House of Representatives. If this becomes law, it would take affect 2013-2014 academic year and each academic year thereafter.
“The protection of our schools is my number one priority and I pledge to lead the charge in the upcoming legislative session to ensure our local education agencies have the tools needed to protect our state’s most previous resources – the students of Tennessee,” Rep. Watson said.
Eric Watson is Chairman of the House Criminal Justice Committee and serving his fifth term in the Tennessee House of Representatives. He lives in Cleveland and represents District 22, which includes Meigs, Polk, and a portion of Bradley Counties.