TN: Campus Carry Becomes law Without Governors Signature

Campus Carry for employees of public institutions of higher learning has become law in Tennessee, without Governor Bill Haslam’s signature.  In the State of Tennessee, a bill becomes law if the Governor does not sign or veto it in ten days. From 

The Governor may sign the bill; veto it; or allow it to become law without his signature. The Governor is allowed ten days (Sundays excepted) after a bill is presented to him to approve or veto the bill; if he takes no action within that period, the bill becomes a law without his signature. The Governor also has constitutional authority to reduce or disapprove any sum of money appropriated in any bill while approving other portions of such bill.

That is what happened with SB2376. From

A bill allowing staff and faculty at Tennessee’s public colleges and universities to be armed on campus became law Monday without the Republican governor’s signature.

Gov. Bill Haslam said in a statement that he disagreed with the bill for not allowing institutions “to make their own decisions regarding security issues on campus.”

The bill only applies to employees of Tennessee’s public colleges and universities, if they have a Tennessee concealed carry permit.  The firearm must be concealed. Open carry is not permitted. Permit holders are required to inform the University police that they have a permit, and that they will be carrying. Their names and identification are to be kept confidential.

Absolute immunity from damages caused by permit holders is granted to the University.  Missing from the bill is any recourse for adverse action taken against University employees who dare to exercise their Second Amendment rights under the provisions of this bill.  They might be able to sue for damages under a breach of confidentiality, if it could be shown.

Here is part of the legislative summary of the SB2376.  From

(a) Employees of public higher education institutions who have a handgun permit will be authorized to carry a handgun on property owned, operated, or controlled by the institution that employs the employee. Any employee of a public higher education institution who elects to carry a handgun pursuant to this bill must provide written notification to the law enforcement agency with jurisdiction over the property owned, operated, or controlled by the employing institution. The employee’s name and any other information that might identify the employee as a person who has elected to carry a handgun on institution grounds will be confidential. This amendment authorizes law enforcement agencies to develop and implement policies and procedures designed to implement the notification and confidentiality requirements of this amendment and a voluntary course or courses of special or supplemental firearm training to be offered to the employees electing to carry a handgun on the institution’s grounds. Unless carrying a handgun is a requirement of the employee’s job description, the carrying of a handgun pursuant to this bill is a personal choice of the employee and not a requirement of the employer. Consequently, an employee who carries a handgun on property owned, operated, or controlled by the public institution of higher education at which the employee is employed will be responsible for their own conduct and any damage that the employee causes. This amendment specifies certain locations and situations where an employee will not be permitted to carry a handgun. This amendment specifies that a public institution of higher education shall be absolutely immune from claims for monetary damages arising solely from or related to an employee of that institution’s use of or failure to use a handgun;

This is a good deal for the colleges and universities of Tennessee.  In return for doing the right thing, and having a few people be able to exercise their Second Amendment rights on public property, they gain full immunity from lawsuit for any damages that might result.  The likelyhood of damages is very small.  Concealed carry permit holders have been some of the most responsible people in communities across the nation.  The commit crimes at a fraction of the rate of police officers, and a tiny fraction of the rate of the population as a whole.  The public institutions of higher learning also benefit from the added protection provided by the armed staff.

©2016 by Dean Weingarten: Permission to share is granted when this notice and link are included.
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