Columbus, OH – Ohio Governor Mike DeWine announced Monday that he had signed a law to make it easier for teachers to carry guns in classrooms.
Our goal is to continue to help our public and private schools get the tools they need to protect our children,” DeWine said, according to NBC News. “We have an obligation to do everything we can every single day to try and protect our kids.”
The legislation drastically reduces the amount of training that teachers must undergo before they are allowed to carry a concealed weapon on campus.
Existing laws required teachers to take 700 hours of handgun training before they can carry at school, NBC News reported.
The governor said the new legislation would allow teachers to become certified to carry concealed in classrooms in less than 24 hours.
DeWine said on June 1 that he supported the bill that would let “local school districts, if they so chose, to designate armed staff for school security and safety,” NBC News reported.
The governor said the new standard would be much more practical than the existing one.
“My office worked with the General Assembly to remove hundreds of hours of curriculum irrelevant to school safety and to ensure training requirements were specific to a school environment and contained significant scenario-based training,” he explained when his support for the change was first announced.
The new law will also require armed teachers to take eight hours of prequalification training every year, as well as lessons on how to stop an active shooter, NBC News reported.
Teachers will be giving training on de-escalation tactics and First Aid.
There was strong opposition to the change from teachers’ unions, the Ohio Fraternal Order of Police, and gun control groups, NBC News reported.
“The safety of Ohio’s students and educators is our utmost priority, but we know putting more guns into school buildings in the hands of people who have woefully inadequate training — regardless of their intentions — is dangerous and irresponsible,” the Ohio Education Association and the Ohio Federation of Teachers said in a joint statement June 3.
But the bill’s sponsor, Ohio State Representative Thomas Hall said the legislation was about more than urban areas in the state and pointed to law enforcement response challenges faced by rural schools, NBC News reported.
“I use the example of rural schools versus urban schools. Urban schools, they have school resource officers, they have a police force that can be there within two minutes, three minutes. Some of these schools are not as fortunate,” Hall said.
The GOP lawmaker said he believed the new law was necessary to keep children in all parts of the state safe, NBC News reported.
At least 28 other states allow teachers to be armed in the classroom under a variety of conditions, including Texas where 19 students and two teachers were gunned down in a classroom on May 24.