Teachers in Ohio may soon be permitted to carry weapons in their classrooms after just 24 hours of training. State lawmakers advanced a measure Wednesday that would ease the training requirements for teachers who want to carry weapons. Governor Mike DeWine has stated he intends to sign it into law.
It has been revised to require school personnel who carry weapons to undergo up to 24 hours of training, followed by yearly re-certification training.
A week after the killing of 19 students and two teachers at an elementary school in Uvalde, Texas, Democrats say the idea, which is optional for schools, sends the wrong message. Republicans claim that if passed, the law will serve to prevent future mass shootings. The proposal was rushed through the legislative process in order to counteract a court judgement that said that under present law, armed school staff would require hundreds of hours of training.
According to the proposal, the Ohio Department of Public Safety would establish the Ohio School Safety and Crisis Center. Each district would submit a plan for weapons training to the new center for review and approval. Individual school districts would be responsible for covering the cost of the training. A yearly background check for all school employees would be mandated by law.
Major law enforcement organizations, gun control campaigners, and the state’s teachers unions have all requested Governor DeWine to reject the bill, which he has refused to do so far. As a more effective means of preventing mass shootings in schools, Democratic lawmakers, law enforcement, and many others have argued that arming teachers is the wrong option.
Juanita Brent, D-Cleveland, claimed that “this is not what the people asked for, and I have receipts from moms, dads,” individuals in her neighborhood, and students in her district. “They’re not asking for no guns. They’re asking for background checks.”
The state of Ohio enables school districts to determine whether or not their employees may carry guns, but the topic of how much training is legally necessary has been debated for years.
School workers in Ohio must either have 20 years of experience or have completed about 728 hours of peace officer training before they are allowed to carry a pistol on school grounds, as the Ohio Supreme Court declared in June 2021.
There would have to be at least four hours of training in scenario-based or simulated training exercises if DeWine signed the measure into law.
The bill’s wording makes it unclear if certain school districts would need more training than others.
According to the proposed legislation, training for unarmed security guards and private investigators would follow the same authorisation procedures as those for armed security guards. Handgun training is required for 20 hours and any other weapon for five. However, the law adds that “nothing in this section prohibits a school district board of education or governing body of a school from requiring additional training.”
According to the Council of State Governments, more than 30 states considered legislation pertaining to the arming of school personnel in 2013, the year after the Sandy Hook Elementary School tragedy. A similar legislation was enacted in the wake of the 2018 school massacre at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Florida.