Ohio teachers and other school staff will be allowed to carry firearms in school after at least 24 hours of training, according to new legislation signed into law by Gov. Mike DeWine on Monday.
Under House Bill 99, school employees must undergo 18 hours of general training, two hours of handgun training, two hours of “additional” general training, and two hours of “additional” handgun training in order to carry a gun in school, according to NBC4.
The bill passed the Ohio state Senate with a 23-9 vote, and the state House with a 56-34 vote.
Ohio law previously required teachers and other staff to have more than 700 hours of training before they were allowed to be armed at school.
“Look, my job is to get as much done as I can that will actually get done,” DeWine said prior to signing the bill. “I can get up and give speeches every day about certain things, but if there’s no chance they’re going to happen, I’m wasting everybody’s time.”
DeWine emphasized that the bill does not require teachers or staff members to carry a gun.
“No school has to do this. This is up to a local school board. We believe in local control in Ohio. A local school may have a security officer in there,” DeWine told 21 News. “The best thing is to have a police officer in the schools. They can be plain clothes, but some schools may not be able to do that.”
“One thing I want to make sure is they have training on ‘when do I shoot, when do I not shoot?’ We want that training as close to real-life as possible,” the governor added.
The Ohio Education Association condemned DeWine’s decision to sign the bill as “dangerous.”
“Our students and educators need to be in safe environments where they can focus on teaching and learning, not on the threat of having unprepared, woefully undertrained people—regardless of their good intentions—making split-second life-or-death decisions about whether to pull the trigger in a chaotic classroom full of innocent bystanders. It would take hundreds of hours of training and firearms practice to be ready for those situations; Governor DeWine says he’s fine with just 24 hours of instruction,” said OEA President Scott DiMauro in a statement. “It’s absurd.”
“DeWine’s decision to sign this dangerous legislation on the same day that Ohio’s new law allowing just about anyone to carry a concealed weapon with zero training takes effect truly shows where his priorities lie,” he added.