Armed teachers may soon be the norm in Ohio, if a bill passes removing the requirement that teachers have extensive firearms training if they wish to carry weapons at school.
The current law in Ohio does allow teachers to go armed, but they must have more than 700 hours of police training (the same amount as a police officer) and be individually approved by their local school board.
House Bill 99, which is currently being fast-tracked despite extensive rewrites no one’s been given time to read yet, would almost not only remove nearly all of that requirement, but would actually ban it. The most recent version specifies no minimum of training hours, either in peacekeeping techniques or firearms use, but in fact imposes a maximum. School districts would not be allowed to require more than 24 hours instruction and training for armed teachers to carry a weapon, or more than 8 hours for annual recertifications.
At Tuesday’s Ohio Senate hearing on the bill, two gun lobbyists spoke in support of it, while dozens of teachers, teacher’s union representatives, parents, and even a police lobbyist spoke against it. The Republican-led Ohio Senators voted to advance it to the Senate Floor for a vote regardless.
Tuesday’s vote was unusual. Usually a bill will have several hearings before a decision is made to advance it. This one happened so rapidly that several of those who came to speak for or against it were unable to get a copy before arriving at the hearing. The speedy handling is almost certainly intended to capitalize on the current national mood after last Tuesday’s massacre in Uvalde, Texas, where 19 children and two teachers were killed.
It is worth noting that teachers, with a few individual exceptions, are not asking for this. Every teacher who testified spoke of how reckless the idea of armed teachers is, from the perils of storing a gun around students to the terrible responsibility of potentially having to shoot one of those same students.