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Following Lawmakers’ Shameful Passage, Governor Lee Signs Arming Teachers Bill Into Law, Moms Demand Action and Students Demand Action Respond


NASHVILLE, Tenn. –  The Tennessee chapters of Moms Demand Action and Students Demand Action, both part of Everytown for Gun Safety’s grassroots network, released the following statements in response to Governor Lee signing a bill to arm teachers into law. 

“This bill claims to protect our students and teachers, but in reality, it’s putting them right in the line of fire,” said Angela Ferrell-Zabala, executive director of Moms Demand Action. “If shoving more guns into more places really made us safer, then we wouldn’t be living in a country where guns are the leading cause of death for young people. Shame on those extremist lawmakers who pushed this dangerous legislation through, and shame on Governor Lee for signing it today. We won’t forget this come Election Day.”

“It’s already scary enough going to school in America these days and Governor Lee just made it so much worse. I shouldn’t have to focus on the endless safety risks introduced when teachers are armed with weapons, yet our Governor and extremist lawmakers care more about building their guns-everywhere agenda than keeping students like myself safe.  “said Ibtihal Cheko, volunteer of the Students Demand Action Tennessee chapter and a student at Hume Fogg High School.. “You will see us in November and young people’s voices will be heard at the ballot box. We’re not going anywhere.“

“We are deeply disheartened at Governor Lee signing this bill despite  law-enforcement, teachers associations and gun safety advocates all fighting against it — and for good reason,” said Carol Buckley-Frazier, a volunteer with Moms Demand Action.. “This bill will only put our kids in more danger – come November we will make sure our voices are heard at the ballot box and will elect lawmakers who will protect us instead of cowering to the gun lobby.” 

Since the shooting at the Covenant School, the Tennessee chapters of Moms Demand Action, and Students Demand Action, both part of Everytown for Gun Safety’s grassroots network, alongside survivors and gun safety advocates have been continuously calling on lawmakers to act on gun safety, including peaceful protests, testifying, writing opinion pieces, and calling on their representatives to protect them.

Research shows that arming teachers introduces new risks of gun violence in schools and puts the lives of students, teachers, and law enforcement in danger. Arming teachers and people on campus only increases the chances of students experiencing gun violence at school. We’re seeing this in other states – states with the weakest gun laws tend to have higher rates of gun violence than states with stronger gun laws.

Arming teachers is opposed by school safety experts, teachers, and law enforcement, and with good reason. First, when a gun is in the classroom, students can get access to it. There have been multiple incidents of students and teachers finding misplaced firearms: in bathrooms, locker rooms, and even sporting events. Second, the notion of a highly trained teacher armed with a gun, able to respond as quickly as trained law enforcement, is a myth. Law enforcement officers receive hundreds of hours of training but Tennessee allows armed personnel to carry in schools with much less training.

Firearms are the leading cause of death for American children and teens. Gun violence is a public health crisis that lawmakers can take active steps toward solving. Instead of militarizing Tennessee schools, lawmakers should work to pass secure storage legislation that has been proven effective in reducing the risk of gun violence. 

Tennessee currently has the 12th highest rate of gun deaths in the United States and some of the weaker gun laws in the country. Guns are the number one killer of children and teens in the U.S. and in Tennessee.

To speak with a Tennessee Moms Demand Action volunteer, please do not hesitate to reach out to [email protected].