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Ohio Senate Passes Legislation Making It Easier to Arm Teachers


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In the wake of multiple mass shootings across the United States, Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine (R) said he will sign legislation that would allow teachers and other adults in schools to be armed as long as they complete up to 24 hours of firearms training.

The Ohio Senate passed the bill this week.

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“House Bill 99, which passed the House nearly six months ago, would eliminate the need for teachers to pass the state’s peace officers training course, which includes more than 700 hours of instruction,” Just the News reported.

Staff members also would be required to meet certain range requirements, and school boards must notify the public if it elects to allow staff to be armed.

The bill, which added more required training than the House bill and includes $6 million for school safety, passed on party-line votes by Republicans in both the House and Senate.

“This bill is completely permissive and allows local school boards to either approve or disapprove of carrying weapons in the schoolhouse, thus providing another tool in the toolbox,” said Sen. Frank Hoagland, R-Mingo Junction. “To me safety is paramount. Everything else is a plan and consideration. Our mission is to save lives. Ohio is taking ownership and the burden of assuring a safe education.”

A Democrat amendment to increase training to a minimum of 152 hours was defeated.

Gov. DeWine said the bill was designed to “remove hundreds of hours of curriculum irrelevant to school safety and to ensure training requirements were specific to a school environment and contained significant scenario-based training.”

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The governor argued the legislation would protect both students and teachers.

The bill does not prohibit schools from requiring additional training in order to carry arms or from opting out from having armed people on school grounds altogether. Those bearing arms would be subjected to a criminal background check each year.

The legislation would also create a body called the Ohio School Safety and Crisis Center within the Department of Public safety.

Republicans backed the bill while Democrats opposed it. Ohio House of Representatives Minority Leader Allison Russo said that making it easier to bring guns to schools would be “irresponsible, reckless, and dangerous.” She criticized her GOP colleagues for choosing “shoot-first laws,” instead of more thorough background checks and firearm safety.

The GOP lawmakers said the legislation would give schools flexibility in crafting their own safety rules and help to confront criminals. “In emergency situations at our schools, seconds matter and tragedies can be prevented,” Thomas Hall, the bill’s lead sponsor, said.

WLWT aired this video report:



 

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