More than 500 Tennessee college and university staff members carry guns on public campuses across the state, now that a law implemented last July allows them to do so, the Knoxville News Sentinel reported.
Few, if any, problems have occurred due to employees carrying guns, but a proposal that would expand the law to part-time employees has college and university officials concerned, even as that proposal is unlikely to pass in the Tennessee legislature this year.
University of Tennessee Police Chief Troy Lane opposes the expansion and sits on the board of directors for the Tennessee Association of Chiefs of Police, which also opposes the proposal.
“We already have 160 full-time employees who have notified us of their intent to carry,” Lane said. “I am unaware of how or why adding part-time personnel would make our campus safer. Next, there are far fewer ‘knowns’ with part-time employees. While we get to know our fellow full-time employees, the same may not be said for our part-time employees.”
In addition to the 160 people that have notified police they want to carry at the UT-Knoxville campus, 23 have given notice to the UT-Martin campus and another 416 people had given notice across the Tennessee Board of Regents system.
Scott Robbins, director of safety at UT-Martin, said in an email that the current system is “working fine” and that the university has so far received no complaints about employees carrying firearms.
Robbins also noted that they would continue operating under the same system if the law expanded and expected the number of part-time employees requesting to carry to be low.
Lane also said there have been no problems on the Knoxville campus but that the law has caused extra paperwork and policy training.