Ohio makes it easier for teachers to carry guns to school
Teachers and other school workers in Ohio will be able to carry firearms to school with a small fraction of the training required from last year, after a bill was signed into law Monday by Governor Mike Devine. .
While employees have been allowed to carry guns on school grounds with the consent of the local school board, the Ohio Supreme Court ruled in 2021 that state law requires them to have the same basic peace officer training as law enforcement officers or security officers. have to pass through. Those who carry firearms on campus – that takes more than 700 hours of instruction.
That decision, Mr. Devin said Monday, had made it largely impractical for Ohio school districts to allow employees to carry firearms.
Under the new law, a maximum of 24 hours of training would be sufficient for teachers to carry a gun to school, although the local board would still need to approve it. According to the National Convention of State Legislatures, twenty-eight states allow people other than security personnel to carry firearms on school grounds, of which nine states explicitly mention school employees. Surveys in recent years show that the vast majority of Americans and a vast majority of teachers oppose the idea of arming teachers.
In a statement on the bill’s passage, Mr. Devin said his office “worked with the General Assembly to remove hundreds of hours of curricula that are irrelevant to school safety,” and to protect Ohio’s children and teachers from this bill. Thanks to the Legislature for passing it. ,
The governor stressed that local school districts would still have the ability to prohibit firearms on school campuses. “For this a school does not need to distribute teachers or staff,” he said. “Every school will make its own decision.”
Last week, Cleveland Mayor Justin Bibb said his city would continue to ban teachers and other non-security workers from carrying guns to schools.
Ohio’s new law, which suddenly and swiftly went through the state Senate after the school shooting in Uvalde, Texas, passed along broadly partisan lines on June 1, with two Republicans voting against it among all Democrats. joined. The bill passed the House in November, also on an almost party-line vote; A Republican joined the Democrats in voting against it.
In a speech on the Senate floor, state senator Neeraj Antani, a Republican, dismissed the “crocodile tears” of lawmakers who saw the bill as dangerous, arguing that armed teachers could be driving school shootings. Will stop and call Bill “probably the most important thing.” A school in Ohio has to stop the shooter.”
A major protest against the bill had turned against it during its journey through the legislature. Hundreds of people packed the committee’s rooms to hear the bill, while two or three speakers testified against it. The opposition included gun control groups as well as teachers, school board members, police union representatives and police chiefs.
Robert Meader, who recently retired as commander of the Columbus, Ohio, Police Division, called the training requirement in the bill “grossly inadequate”, arguing that it could lead to “harmful accidents and potentially even that would cause unnecessary deaths.”
The bill is the second major gun bill that Mr. DeWine, a Republican, has signed into law this year. The first, which took effect on Monday, eliminates the need for a license to carry a concealed carry handgun.
The governor has faced intense pressure to address gun violence following the 2019 shootings in Dayton, when nine people were killed and 17 wounded by a young man who opened fire outside a bar. In the days following the shoot, the vigilante crowd called Mr. Devine “Do something!” Which will become a motto for those demanding action on gun violence.
Mr Devin initially expressed support for a so-called red flag law, but neither it nor any other limits on guns have come up for votes in the Republican-controlled Legislature.
In 2021, Mr Devin signed a “Stand Your Ground” measure, allowing people to use lethal force without attempting to back away from a dangerous situation. He signed a bill in March allowing carry-over without a permit. Republicans argued in debates before this latest bill that reducing the training required for teachers to carry guns was a response to people’s demands for action on gun violence.
“We hear people saying ‘do something,'” State Senator Terry Johnson, a Republican, said on the Senate floor. “Well, it’s something and it’s an important thing.”
The overwhelming majority of Democrats in the legislature were left only to condemn the bill and warn of its possible consequences.
“They just wanted to say that they were doing something and what they have taken away is unconscious,” State Senator Teresa Fedor, a Democrat who served in the Air Force and taught fourth grade for years, said in an interview. “They’ll have blood on their hands.”