Guns in Ohio: House votes to fundamentally change rules on guns in schools, concealed carry
CINCINNATI (WXIX) - Ohio House lawmakers on Wednesday passed two gun bills reducing or eliminating the number of training hours residents need to carry a firearm in certain situations.
The bills still need to go through the Senate before they can be signed by Gov. Mike DeWine.
House Bill 99 drastically reduces the hours Ohio teachers need to carry guns in schools.
Currently, teachers, custodians and bus drivers must complete 728 hours of training, the same required of peace officers, to be armed on school campuses. HB 99 reduces the minimum number of required hours to 20, though school districts have the discretion to require additional training.
The bill would require that teachers who wish to carry guns have a concealed carry license. It also requires four hours of training yearly on top of the initial 20 hours.
Rep. Thomas Hall (R-Middletown) is the bill’s primary sponsor. He says it is designed so schools that can’t afford protection can used armed staff instead.
The decision of whether school employees can be armed on school grounds remains up to local school districts.
The Columbus Dispatch reports Rep. David Leland (D-Columbus) tried unsuccessfully to replace the 20-hour minimum with language that directs the Ohio Peace Officers’ Commission to create a teacher training program, something he said they have the unique expertise to do.
HB99 follows an Ohio Supreme Court ruling earlier this year striking down Madison Local Schools’ policy of requiring just 24 hours of training for certain teachers to carry guns at school.
Ohio Federation of Teachers President Melissa Cropper issued a statement opposing HB99 in part due to the bill’s lack of transparency standards, meaning parents would not necessarily know if teachers or staff are carrying guns in their child’s school.
Ohio Fraternal Order of Police also voiced opposition. FOP Governmental Affairs Director Mike Weinman, a retired Columbus police officer, testified the bill’s training requirements aren’t sufficient and that the resulting patchwork of training standards would invite private companies to influence school board policies without parental input.
House Bill 227 makes a concealed weapons permit optional, including the mandatory eight hours of training. It also eliminates the current requirement that people promptly notify police officers they are carrying a concealed weapon.
For those who do not want to apply for a license, anyone 21 years of age or older can carry as long as they are not otherwise prohibited by law, according to HB 227.
Rep. Tom Brinkman (R-Mt. Lookout) is the bill’s primary sponsor with Rep. Kris Jordan (R-Ostrander) as a co-sponsor.
“It’s our Second Amendment rights. Government is too restrictive. People deserve their rights,” Brinkman told FOX19 NOW earlier this month.
“One just needs to look at the gun violence in the city of Cincinnati. The politicians run around in the city of Cincinnati and say ‘oh, violent crime is down,’ but it seems there is a shooting every other night,” said Brinkman, who failed to win a seat on Cincinnati City Council during last week’s election.
“Law-abiding citizens need to be able to defend themselves. This levels that playing field. It’s not the guns that are the problem. It’s the bad people are using them with abandon.”
The Buckeye Firearms Association backs the effort and points out that 21 other states allow people to carry a concealed weapon without a license.
Gun control groups, however, such as Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America oppose it, along with law enforcement groups.
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