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Tennessee on Path to Bring Back Firearms Safety Training in Schools

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School students with hands raised

As liberals call for “gun sense” and “gun safety” measures, Tennessee passed a bill in the State House of Representatives that would, “provide students with age-appropriate and grade-appropriate instruction on firearm safety.”

HB 2882, introduced by Representative Chris Todd (R – Madison County), would require public schools and public charter schools to start teaching kids “age-appropriate” gun safety measures in the 2025-2026 school year. The state Department of Education and Safety will work with the Tennessee Fish and Wildlife Commission to decide the earliest grade when students could start learning about gun safety.

Unsurprisingly, some Democrats immediately called for amendments allowing parents to opt their children out of the mandatory instruction. Ethan Song, who tragically shot himself in the head after accessing secured firearms in a home that was not his, might have benefited from such firearms safety training.

“This curriculum would be developed to instruct children on how to properly stay away from a firearm if they happen to see a firearm, and what to do as far as reporting if they find a firearm,” said Sen. Paul Bailey, R-Sparta.

According to the new Tennessee bill, classroom lessons will be via video and online materials but will not include live ammunition or live guns. However, non-functional ammunition or non-functional guns are not specifically excluded by the proposal.

The required lessons for students include:

  • Safe storage of firearms
  • School safety relating to firearms
  • How to avoid injury if the students finds a firearm
  • To never touch a found firearm
  • To immediately notify an adult of the location of a found firearm

The bill requires that instruction be “viewpoint neutral on political topics, such as gun rights, gun violence, and the Second Amendment.”

The Tennessee Senate passed House Bill 2882 in a party-line vote of 24 to 3 this week. It passed the House of Representatives in February. It now awaits Governor Lee’s signature.

While liberals largely believe guns don’t belong in schools, just a couple of decades ago it wasn’t uncommon for young men and women to bring firearms to school in their vehicles so they could go hunting or participate in marksmanship programs before and after school. Today, some of those programs are starting to make a resurgence as the shooting sports again becomes popular among youth.

Earlier this week, the Senate passed a bill that would allow school faculty to be armed after undergoing background checks and a significant amount of training.

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