Proposed law allows Ohio teachers to carry guns in class without police-level training
CINCINNATI (WXIX) - Ohio lawmakers advanced a bill this week allowing teachers to carry guns without the current required training hours for peace officers as long as they are qualified to carry a concealed handgun.
This issue was just debated in recent years amid a lawsuit filed against a Butler County school district over their policy permitting it.
Ohio law allows school boards to decide whether to permit teachers and other staff to carry guns into school buildings
But state lawmakers have mandated previously that they be well-trained with 728 hours or 20 years peace officer’s experience.
The Ohio Supreme Court upheld that rule earlier this year, in June, in a 4-3 decision.
But before that decision, Republican State Rep. Thomas Hall had introduced House Bill 99. He represents parts of Butler County including Madison Township.
The state’s top court overturned Madison Local Schools policy allowing school staff to carry concealed guns in schools as long as they held a conceal-carry permit and had active shooter training.
That’s where, in the wake of a shooting at one of its schools in 2016, Madison’s school board approved a policy in 2018 that allowed armed staff as long as they had 24 hours training, including eight earned at a one-day class to obtain a license to carry a concealed weapon.
A group of parents sued the district to try to halt the policy. They were represented by Gupta Wessler LLC of Columbus, Ohio and Everytown for Gun Safety Support Fund.
A Butler County judge upheld it Madisons policy, but the parents then turned to an appeals court, which overturned the lower court decision. The appeals court ordered the district to require more training hours.
From there, the district unsuccessfully took the case to the state’s top court.
Hall’s legislation now would make that training requirement 20 hours including two hours of handgun training with specific maneuvers and then followed by four additional hours annually.
The bill is not a mandate for every school district in Ohio, Hall notes. It’s designed so schools that can’t afford protection can use armed staff - and school districts have the option to increase training requirements.
“We put some training in the bill and, you know, we still left it open for the local school district to decide what’s best,” Hall said.
Opponents, like Democratic State Rep. Tavia Galonski of Akron contend that is not enough training.
“By Ohio introducing a weapon into the classroom I believe that introduces more problems than it solves,” Galonski said.
Hall’s House Bill 99 also is opposed by teacher’s unions, the Fraternal Order of Police of Ohio and gun-control groups.
Reached for comment, a spokesman for Everytown for Gun Safety Support Fund told FOX19 NOW he would put a statement out later Friday.
The legislation is expected to go to other lawmakers for a vote on the House floor next week, Wednesday or Thursday, according to veteran local lawmaker State Rep. Bill Seitz, R-Green Township.
Seitz is one of four co-sponsors of the bill.
“It will pass on a straight party-line vote,” Seitz predicted Friday. “No one in our caucus voiced objections.”
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