- In Ohio, it has become easier for teachers to carry a gun at school.
- Governor Mark DeWine signed a law Monday that eliminates hundreds of hours of training requirements.
- Teachers now only need 24 hours of training and approval from the local school board to get a gun in school.
Ohio lawmakers this week made it easier for state teachers and education personnel to carry guns at school, reducing the number of required training hours from more than 700 to just 24.
The move comes amid a nationwide crackdown on gun control and school safety in the wake of the Ovaldi school killing spree last month, in which an 18-year-old gunman killed 21 people, including 19 students at Robb Elementary School.
Teachers in Ohio can carry guns at school if they complete 700 hours of peace officer training and have permission from their school board. Ohio Governor Mark DeWine said such stringent requirements would have made teachers’ ability to carry guns highly unsustainable, which on Monday signed off on legislation eliminating hundreds of hours of previously required training.
The new law only requires 24 hours of training for teachers who want to bear arms. The local school authorities did not provide final approval.
DeWine said at a news conference Monday that House Bill 99 has been moving through the Ohio legislature since last year, but acknowledged that the Ovaldi shootings “certainly increased the urgency of its passage.”
“My office has worked with the General Assembly to remove hundreds of curriculum hours unrelated to school safety and to ensure that training requirements are specific to the school environment and include critical scenario-based training,” DeWine said in a press release earlier this year. Month.
The bill angered teachers’ unions and law enforcement agencies alike, who argued that arming teachers was too risky and dangerous. The Ohio Teachers Union and Ohio Education Association asked DeWine to veto the bill, and the Ohio fraternal system of police had previously opposed the law, arguing that 24 hours was not enough time for training.
The Fraternal Police’s director of government affairs, Mike Weinman, testified earlier this year that the bill would lead to poor teacher training and overwhelm chains of command in times of crisis.
NPR’s Weinman said teachers who choose to arm themselves during the school day will immediately become first responders when an emergency occurs. “She was asked to abandon her students and respond to any threat in the building at all times.”
But DeWine stressed that local school districts still have the authority to keep firearms off school buildings.
“This does not require a school to arm teachers or staff,” he said. Each school decides for itself.
Insider’s Hilary Brook found in 2018 that research suggests that arming teachers does not prevent school shootings. Studies have found that having more guns in the classroom is more likely to lead to more injuries and deaths.
While armed teachers are far from fashionable across the country, the proposal has been brought up and renewed regularly in the wake of school shootings. Former President Donald Trump announced the proposal after the 2018 Parkland, Florida tragedy. Work is underway in Louisiana on a bill that would allow “Volunteer School Protection Officers” to carry guns in schools.
School gun policies vary drastically from state to state. The NPR Conference of State Legislatures was quoted as saying that three states, including Alabama, Oregon and Utah, allow anyone with a concealed carry permit to carry a gun in a K-12 school. Now, in at least 18 other states, school boards can grant gun licenses to anyone in certain situations.
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