Local colleges prepare to allow faculty and staff to carry guns on campus

JOHNSON CITY, TN (WJHL)- In less than a month, full time faculty and staff at Tennessee’s colleges and universities can carry guns on campus.

The new law passed without Governor Bill Haslam’s signature last month. Haslam said  this decision should have been up to the schools.

“My reservations were this, I think that whoever controls a piece of property, whether it be you at your house or a business, or in this case a university, should get to decide what happens on that property relative to firearms,” Haslam said.

After the law passed, campus leaders started planning how this will play out at their schools.

“We’ve formed a committee that’s been looking at the new law and looking at the implications for ETSU. This committee’s been developing policies and procedures for persons who do have a permit to carry a concealed weapon,” Joe Smith with ETSU said.

To carry a gun on campus, you must be a full time employee, have a valid handgun carry permit, and notify campus police you intend to carry a gun.

You can’t carry a gun to school events, counseling centers, or healthcare facilities, which makes ETSU’s situation difficult to navigate.

“There are a lot of factors that do make us unique such as the presence of a K-12 school, a number of child care facilities, as well as…health care facilities,” Smith said.

Next week the Tennessee Board of Regents will consider a general policy for the state, then ETSU will submit its own policy.

Smith said they are currently developing a website to share ETSU’s policy and answer questions.

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