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Teachers in This State Can Now Carry Guns With 24 Hours' Training

Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine signs bill into law; school districts still need to sign off on staffers with firearms
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 14, 2022 10:25 AM CDT
Ohio Law Cuts Gun Training for Teachers From 700 Hours to 24
Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine talks with reporters in Cedarville, Ohio, on May 3.   (AP Photo/Paul Vernon)

Local school boards in Ohio have been able to give the OK for years for teachers and other school employees to carry firearms at work. But a new law signed by Gov. Mike DeWine on Monday just made a significant change on training requirements to do so, knocking down the number of training hours needed to just 24, with an additional eight hours of requalification training per year, reports the Columbus Dispatch. Four of those hours are to be dedicated to scenario-based training, with the other 20 for education on the history of school shootings, as well as how to administer first aid and reunify families. Previously, a 2021 Ohio Supreme Court ruling had mandated teachers and other staffers who wished to bring a gun on campus needed more than 700 hours of training, akin to training mandated for security officers or other law enforcement officials working in schools, per the New York Times.

DeWine said in a statement that he'd collaborated with the General Assembly "to remove hundreds of hours of curriculum irrelevant to school safety," and he offered his gratitude to the state Legislature "for passing this bill to protect Ohio children and teachers." He had argued that 700-plus hours was too onerous for teachers and other school staffers who wished to be armed, with Republican lawmakers in the state insisting armed teachers will make schools safer. One, state Senator Niraj Antani, calls the newly signed law "probably the most important thing we have done to prevent a school shooter in Ohio." However, critics—including teachers, gun control activists, school board members, and police union reps, as well as department chiefs—are pushing back on the drastic decrease in training time.

"I think it's a horrible idea to arm our teachers," Columbus Police Chief Elaine Bryant tells the Dispatch. "There's a lot of training that's involved in that." DeWine noted in his statement that individual school districts could still opt to ban firearms on campus if they wanted to. Last year, 120 children died from gun violence in Ohio, per the AP. The law has emerged in the wake of the Uvalde school shooting, which left 19 children and two teachers dead. The Dispatch notes that DeWine has signed three bills easing gun restrictions since the Texas massacre, including a law that went into effect the same day DeWine signed this training bill: Ohio's constitutional carry law, which allows citizens to carry concealed firearms without training or background checks. (A 2019 mass shooting in Dayton left nine dead.)

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