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Tennessee Senate Democratic Caucus says Let’s Apply the “Bell Plan” to Guns on Public Campuses

Amendment mirrors plan adopted by Tennessee General Assembly for private campuses this year; Requires new FOCUS Act boards work through, develop gun policies for public campuses

Tennessee Senate Democratic CaucusNashville, TN – Lawmakers unsure whether to allow guns on public college campuses could apply the “Bell Plan” that was recently passed to require gun policies at private colleges and universities in Tennessee, Senate Minority Leader Lee Harris said.

“We’ve had a lot of debate this year about guns on campuses, with gun advocates hoping to expand the places where guns are allowed,” Senator Harris said. “On the other side of the debate, our public universities, faculty members, and state police chiefs, among others, are concerned about expanded gun access to college campuses.

“When we looked at private colleges, and tried to figure this out, Senator Bell offered a workable plan. Senator Bell proposed a detailed plan that would include requiring private institutions of higher education to set gun policy. The ‘Bell Plan’ might also work for our public colleges. Just like we did with respect to private colleges, we should require public colleges to set a policy on these issues, once and for all.

“The timing is also relatively favorable. Senator Bell and a lot of others worked to come up with a detailed plan that would resolve these issues on our private campuses. As for our public campuses, we have just spent a considerable amount of time and resources working to make sure that we have public university boards in place to handle issues relating to several of our biggest campuses. It’s called the FOCUS Act. We all agreed that these new boards should have expanded discretion to deal with important issues.

“Well, we have an important issue. Let’s utilize these new boards. Let’s give these new boards a chance to work through and develop gun policies for our public colleges. I think the so-called ‘Bell Plan’ might work for all our campuses.”

SB 2376 is set to go before the full Senate before the end of session. Senator Harris has filed an amendment to mirror the legislation passed earlier this year requiring private institutions of higher education to set a policy on guns.

The amendment, if approved, would require public institutions of higher education to set a policy on guns, among other requirements.

A copy of the amendment is available here.

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