Tennessee Legislature delays gun bills following Nashville school shooting


Jon Styf

The Center Square

A day after shootings at a Nashville school left three students, three teachers and the shooter dead, Tennessee’s Senate Judiciary Committee delayed all of its gun-related bills one week.

The committee was set to consider Senate Bill 1325, which would allow a teacher to carry a concealed handgun on school property with a permit. The Legislature is also considering a bill to lower the age for a concealed carry permit to 18 along with competing versions of the bill in the House and Senate regarding whether loaded long guns will be allowed to be carried in public.

“All bills related to anything to do with guns or that situation are rolled to next week,” said Sen. Todd Gardenhire, R-Chattanooga, the committee chair. “Yesterday was a tragic event in the country and the state and in Nashville. We need to be respectful of those victims.”

The committee heard a prayer for the shooting victims after the announcement.

Metro Nashville Police released body cam video Tuesday of the shooter’s arrival at the school along with releasing a photo of the Honda Fit driven by 28-year-old Audrey Elizabeth Hale.

The body camera footage came from Rex Engelbert, a four-year veteran, and Michael Collazo, a nine-year veteran, of Metro Nashville Police. The department said the two were part of a team that first arrived at the Covenant School campus and then shot and killed Hale.

Tennessee's Black Caucus of State Legislators issued a statement Tuesday afternoon regarding the shooting.

"This tragedy should serve as a clarion call for responsible gun ownership," the statement said. "128 mass shootings in America this year and today is day 87 of the year 2023! When will enough be enough?

"Our ‘prayers’ need to become more thoughtful and intentional regarding this issue. The TBCSL respects our Second Amendment right to carry, yet this issue of senseless mass murder has become out of control. We have got to do more to protect children and all those providing an education for them. We have done nothing to address the root problem: proliferation of militarized guns in our communities."