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Tenn. guns on campus bill becomes law without governor's signature

Credit: WKRN (Copyright by WSLS - All rights reserved)

WKRN Web Staff – NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – The highly-debated guns on campus bill has become law without Governor Bill Haslam's signature.

It allows full-time employees of state public colleges or universities to carry a handgun while on property owned, operated, or used by the employing college or university if the employee has a valid Tennessee handgun carry permit.

On Monday, Haslam said he has "long stated a preference for systems and institutions to be able to make their own decisions regarding security issues on campus, and I again expressed this concern throughout the legislative process this year."

He noted the bill doesn't go as far as he would like in "retaining campus control," but the final version "included input from higher education shaped to accommodate some of their concerns."

"Ultimately, this legislation was tailored to apply to certain employees in specific situations, it provides protection from liability for the institutions, and it requires notification of law enforcement before carrying on campus. I hope that as a state we will monitor the impact of this new law and listen to the feedback of higher education leaders responsible for operationalizing it," Haslam concluded.

The law goes into effect July 1, 2016.

East Tennessee Senator Mike Bell proposed the bill after the shooting at Umpqua Community College in Roseburg, Ore. in October. A gunman killed nine people before taking his own life.