Bipartisan bill to have armed guards at Tennessee schools moves forward

(SBG File Photo)

A bipartisan bill to have armed guards at Tennessee schools is moving forward.

An amended version of the "School Safety Act of 2018," HB2129, passed a civil justice subcommittee in the House on Wednesday.

It allows public schools the option to hire up to two off-duty law enforcement officers to provide armed security at the school. This will be in addition to the school resource officers already at some schools.

The extra security officers will be off-duty officers who work for the local police department, sheriff’s office, Tennessee Highway Patrol or constables. As part of the amendments made Wednesday, the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation will be removed from the bill.

Another amendment made to the bill was to add a 50-mile radius for participating officers.

Rep. Micah Van Huss (R-Johnson City) said right now, he's unsure how this bill will be funded. Other lawmakers noted the governor's budget comes out March 20 and hopefully the bill will have concrete funding before it’s brought to a full floor discussion.

Republican Senate sponsor Sen. Mark Green of Clarksville called it an emergency measure. It would sunset in 2022.

The safety measure was proposed in the wake of a deadly mass shooting at a Florida school in which 17 people were killed.

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