Campus carry for university faculty becomes law in Tennessee

Campus carry for university faculty becomes law in Tennessee

Gov. Bill Haslam returned the bill to the Senate unsigned, allowing it to become law by default. (Photo: Gov. Haslam/Facebook)

A bill to drop gun free zones at Tennessee public university and colleges for employees with concealed carry permits became law this week without Gov. Haslam’s signature

The Senate measure passed that chamber in a 28-5 vote while its House companion carried 69-24 last month, sending it to the desk of Republican Gov. Bill Haslam.

Despite appeals from both sides of the issue to either veto or sign the measure, Haslam took the rare step of returning the legislation Monday to the Senate without his signature after 10 days, at which point the bill was automatically law. He noted his preference would have been to let school administrators set their own policy to best suit their campus.

“I again expressed this concern throughout the legislative process this year,” said Haslam as reported by WATE. “Although SB 2376 does not go as far as I would like in retaining campus control, the final version of the bill included input from higher education and was shaped to accommodate some of their concerns.”

The bill, SB2376/HB 1736, is a limited campus carry measure that grants full-time employees of the state’s public colleges and university the ability under the law to carry a concealed handgun so long as they have a permit. Those choosing to do so would have to notify campus police beforehand.

There are some prohibitions still in place; for instance, an employee could not carry a firearm to a meeting in which job performance is the subject or to sporting events on campus.

Gun control advocates denounced Haslam’s decision not to block the new law.

“Governor Haslam has failed college communities across Tennessee by allowing guns on campus to become law without putting his name on the bill, despite the fact that his legitimate concerns about the bill, which were echoed by law enforcement, were not addressed,” said Jodi Polaha, an associate professor at East Tennessee State and a member of Moms Demand Action in a statement released by the group.

The bill’s sponsor, Rep. Andy Holt, R-Dresden, is promising to help bring more legislation in future sessions to do away with gun free zones for students as well.

“The purpose of running the bill is campus safety. It’s not an effort to create an armed battalion on campus but to allow individuals to protect and defend themselves,” Holt said.

The law goes into effect July 1.

Latest Reviews

  • Springfield SAINT: Your High-Value AR-15

    The Springfield Armory SAINT offers a high-value, no-frills-required AR-15 platform. We put it through its paces to see if it's worth adding to your collection. After several trips to the range, we can confirm this is a great gun.

    Read More
  • The Sig Sauer P320 X5 Legion is an Amazing Pistol

    The Sig Sauer p320 X5 Legion has been on the market for a little while now. So I wanted to bring you a review after shooting more than 30,000 rounds through mine over a year of competing in 3-gun and USPSA.

    Read More
  • 17 Reasons to Love the Glock 17

    Glock 17s are trusted by law enforcement and militaries around the world. But they are also great guns for civilians. Here are our top 17 reasons to get a Glock 17.

    Read More
  • Sig P320 vs. Sig P365 for Concealed Carry

    Sig’s P365 and P320 offer two great options for concealed carry. Their compact sizes and high magazine capacities make them excellent choices for everyday carry. They're also easy to customize.

    Read More

Loading