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Ohio approves new law allowing school employees to carry firearms 

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Ohio House of Representatives

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Ohio will allow school employees to carry guns beginning this Fall. Republican Governor Mike DeWine signed a bill where educational employees in Ohio can carry guns on school premises.

The signing of the new law comes almost weeks after the horrific Uvalde shooting in Texas where 19 children and two teachers were killed.

The law is an attempt to undo the effect of a previous Ohio Supreme Court ruling that mandated school employees to undergo 700 hours of training before arming themselves in schools. Governor DeWine expresses that the new law is another tool for districts that want to protect children. He also emphasized that it’s optional, but not a requirement.

Before announcing the bill signing, the governor outlined several other school safety measures he and other lawmakers have promoted, including $100 million for school security upgrades in schools and $5 million for upgrades at colleges.

The governor explained earlier this month that school districts can decide to “designate armed staff for school security and safety,” but they can still prohibit guns on campuses if they choose to do so. He continues to recommend that school districts hire armed school resource officers. 

Democrats have argued that the law could send the wrong message as well as being opposed by major law enforcement groups, gun control advocates, and the state’s teachers unions.

The law requires up to 24 hours of training before an employee can go armed, and up to eight hours of annual training. The training programs must be approved by the Ohio School Safety Center, and DeWine announced he’s ordering the center to require the maximum 24 hours and the maximum eight hours.

In addition to the efforts of keeping schools safe, Ohio has also provided $1.2 billion in wellness funding for schools to address mental health and other issues, the governor announced.