Haslam Signs Armed Guards In School Bill With Provisions

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(Memphis) High schools and middle schools that already have deputies or police guarding their hallways may be in for more manpower, if they want it.

The School Security Act of 2013 is now law in Tennessee.

It allows employees with police training and certification to have guns in schools.

They just need a handgun permit, 40 hours in school police training, and written permission from the school system.

"I don't think it's needed, but any precaution we can take to help protect the education system is the best  thing we can do," says Kevin Brown of Bartlett.

"If these armed guards  are trained, sure. But that is as far as it needs to go.  I am not a big fan of having too many guns around kids," says Travis Blackwell of East Memphis.

The measure hasn't come up for Memphis and Shelby County Schools.

Those schools now have police and deputies guarding campus.

Bringing in armed guards would be a school board decision.

Board members we talked to say there is a lot to consider before any step is taken.
Citizens agree.

"I think it's a good thing but we really need to be guarded about it because people will tend to get emotional about it because they are looking at other situations and may be more apt to draw the gun when it's not necessary," says Eric Payne of Southeast Memphis.

There is still no decision on who will even handle school security for the newly merged school system.

We asked the Shelby County Sheriff's Department if the addition of armed guards would be a bonus.

"Right now  it's too early to tell. We are gonna continue to train our individuals and have them ready when the school bell rings in August," says Chip Washington, spokesperson for the Shelby County Sheriff's Department.

The guns-in-parking lot bill signed by the governor would also allow people to keep guns in locked cars on most parking lots as long as they have a hand-gun permit.