Ohio Governor DeWine Says He’ll Sign Bill To Arm Teachers After Day Of Training: NPR

Ohio Governor Mike DeWine, seen here at a press conference earlier this month, said the move to make it easier for teachers to carry guns will give school districts more options.

David Richard/AP

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Ohio Governor DeWine Says He'll Sign Bill To Arm Teachers After Day Of Training: NPR

Ohio Governor Mike DeWine, seen here at a press conference earlier this month, said the move to make it easier for teachers to carry guns will give school districts more options.

David Richard/AP

Ohio Governor Mike DeWine is set to sign a bill Monday allowing teachers to carry guns in class after 24 hours of training, despite opposition from teachers and a group of police officers. Proponents say the policy will make schools safer, but critics say it won’t, citing expert analysis.

The new law dramatically reduces the amount of training a teacher must undergo before they can carry a firearm in a school safe zone. Instead of the more than 700 hours of training currently required, school personnel who wish to be armed would receive training that “shall not exceed” 24 hours, House Bill 99 states.

“DeWine, who campaigned for gun restrictions after the 2019 Dayton mass shooting, said signing the bill was part of an overall plan to make schools safer.” , according to the Statehouse News Bureau.

Contested approach gets legal backing from Ohio

The new legislation is similar to a controversial policy adopted by a school district in Madison Township, Ohio, in 2018 to make it easier for staff to carry guns. A local parents’ group has sued, saying teachers should be trained as peace officers before they can bring a gun to work.

The Ohio Supreme Court sided with the parents last summer. But now the 24-hour requirement becomes state law.

Proponents of the bill include State Senator Frank Hoagland, who calls it “a proactive, common-sense step to protect our schools from the threat of an active shooter.”

Among the few people who testified in support of the bill at the latest hearing on the legislation, one was the CEO of START, a company founded by Hoagland to advise schools and other entities on safety and health. crisis preparedness, as the Ohio Capital Journal notes.

In more than a year of debate on the legislation, witnesses have spoken against it more than 360 times, while around 20 people have spoken in favor of it.

DeWine says the law will give schools an option

The Ohio Teachers’ Federation and the Ohio Education Association have both urged DeWine to veto the bill, saying it’s ‘dangerous and irresponsible’ to put more guns in schools in the hands of people who are not sufficiently trained.

“House Bill 99 will make Ohio students less safe in their schools,” the organizations said in a joint statement.

His opponents also include Moms Demand Action and the Ohio Fraternal Order of Police.

FOP’s Mike Weinman testified that the bill would create a jumble of school district requirements and result in poorly trained teachers who would then face role confusion.

When armed, a teacher’s first responsibility is to act as a first responder, Weinman said: “She will have to abandon her students and respond to any threat that may be in the building at any time.”

But the governor has already signaled his support for the bill and he confirmed the timing of his signing the bill in an interview Sunday with local TV station WFMJ.

“No school has to. It’s up to a local school board,” DeWine said, adding that some schools might have security guards or other plans to deter or counter an active shooter scenario.

“The best thing is to have a policeman in the schools,” he said. “They can be in civilian clothes, but some schools may not be able to.”

Studies and experts say it’s not a good idea to arm teachers

A longtime school shooting researcher recently told NPR that he found that arming teachers was not a good strategy “because it brings many disasters and problems, and the chances of it helping really are so tiny”.

In 2020, a RAND analysis concluded that there were “no qualifying studies” on whether arming staff in K-12 schools caused or prevented a range of outcomes. negatives, including deaths or injuries from accidental shootings to suicides, crimes and mass shootings.

But the RAND analysis also indicated that in the decades following the passage of two federal gun-free schools laws in the early 1990s, it became much less likely that a student would carry a gun, than either a gun or a knife.

“In 1993, 12% of students reported having carried a weapon on school property in the previous 30 days,” RAND said, adding that “in 2017, only 4% of students reported having brought a weapon. gun at school.

The analysis also noted that despite the terrible tragedy of school shootings, “most students killed with firearms are shot in their homes, usually because of a domestic dispute, accidental or careless discharge of ‘a gun or suicide’.

State School Gun Laws Differ Significantly

According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, at least three US states – Alabama, Oregon and Utah – allow anyone with a concealed carry permit to bring a firearm into a school from kindergarten to the 12th year.

It’s part of a patchwork of gun policies on campus, with varying levels of training and licensing requirements. With the exception of a handful of states, all states allow law enforcement to bring firearms into schools. But from there, the laws diverge.

In at least 18 states, school authorities can allow anyone they choose to carry a gun on campus in certain cases, according to the NCSL.


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