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Gov. Bill Lee to propose putting armed guards at every Tennessee school

Lee stressed the importance of safety while still respecting the Second Amendment right to bear arms.

Published: April 2, 2023 10:20am

Tennessee Republican Gov. Bill Lee plans this week to propose placing armed guards at every school in his state, and he indicated that he is open to some gun reform measures in the wake of the shooting at a private Christian school in Nashville that left six dead. 

While it still needs legislative approval, Lee's plan would expand a proposal to station armed guards at all public schools in Tennessee and give grant funding to allow private schools to also hire armed guards, The Tennessean reported Friday. The state cannot require private schools to hire armed guards, but it can require the guards hired by private schools to have the same level of training as those in public schools.

That means the new plan could apply to Covenant School, a private Presbyterian school where 28-year-old Audrey Hale killed three nine-year-olds and three staffers in their 60s last week.

The plan would also ask for more mental health support in schools. 

"Mental health concerns are something that we have to continue to invest in," Lee said. "There will be conversations across the board about mental health for students and mental health in general. And support for those who need help, and who do in fact become a threat to themselves or others."

While Lee did not give specific examples of gun laws that he would support, he did say: "Most practical, thoughtful people believe that individuals who are a threat to themselves or to others shouldn’t have access to weapons. ... In my view, that’s a practical, thoughtful approach."

Lee stressed the importance of safety while still respecting the Second Amendment right to bear arms.

"There’s a balance between protecting the constitutional rights of law-abiding citizens and protecting the public from those who intend harm," he said. "That’s going to be the way I look at every piece of legislation and every new proposal going forward."

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