Ohio teachers could be armed with 24 hours of training, reduced from 700

Ohio teachers could be armed with 24 hours of training, reduced from 700

Ohio teachers could be armed with 24 hours of training, reduced from 700

Ohio Republican Governor Mike DeWine signed a law allowing teachers and school personnel to bring firearms to school after up to 24 hours of training, reducing a previous requirement of more than 700 hours.

House Bill 99 overturns a 2021 decision by the state Supreme Court that ruled that armed school workers must first undergo similar firearms training as law enforcement officers and security guards who carry guns on campuses, in addition to approval from the local school board.

Under the law signed by the governor on June 13, local school boards still had to approve whether a teacher or school employee could carry a firearm, but the training period was reduced to no more than 24 hours.

“Each school board will determine what is best for their students, their staff and their community,” the governor said Monday.

The law was signed on the same day that the state’s new so-called “constitutional carry” measure takes effect, allowing residents 21 and older who would otherwise be legally allowed to possess a gun to carry a concealed weapon without a license or training.

According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, the state is one of nearly 30 to allow workers on school campuses other than security officers to carry firearms.

Ohio’s latest move follows nationwide calls from Republican officials to strengthen security in schools — including arming teachers — while opposing measures to curb the proliferation of high-powered weapons in the wake of mass murders of schoolchildren, including the massacre of 19 fourth-graders at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas last month.

Cleveland mayor Justin Bibb said the city would ban teachers and other school personnel, other than security, from carrying firearms on campuses, and a former Ohio senior law enforcement official warned the new education requirement would likely lead to “harmful accidents and possibly even unnecessary deaths”. †

The legislation has met widespread opposition from gun control advocates, teachers’ unions, Ohio’s Fraternal Order of Police, and Democratic lawmakers; State Representative Juanita Brent told lawmakers the bill “isn’t what the people asked for.”

“We are not trusted with the books we choose, but somehow in school we should be trusted with a gun?” Shari Obrenski, vice president of the Ohio Federation of Teachers, said during a debate with state lawmakers last month.

In a joint statement earlier this month, the union and the Ohio Education Association said that “putting more guns in school buildings in the hands of people who have been woefully inadequately educated — regardless of their intentions — is dangerous and irresponsible.”