On the heels of the elementary school shooting in Uvalde, Texas lawmakers tossed around dozens of ideas to curb future shootings. Most of those ideas centered on conventional methods like more gun control, more security or mental health services. However, a few people suggested more guns … in the hands of teachers. Earlier this week, Governor Mike DeWine signed a bill into law that will allow educators in Ohio to carry guns on school premises.
Predictably, this development has received mixed reviews, in particular, from people on the left side of the aisle. Progressives have long opposed armed cops and armed guards in schools. So, turning teachers into armed guards obviously doesn’t sit well with them.
It is important to note it was technically already legal for educators to carry guns on school premises in Ohio. However, last year the Ohio Supreme Court ruled the current state laws required perspective carrying teachers to undergo the same training as police officers or security guards. That would mean that a teacher who wanted to carry a gun on campus would need hundreds of hours of training. The bill that was just signed into law reduces the amount of training to a maximum of just 24 hours of initial training with an additional 8 hours of annual training. The training must be approved by the Ohio School Safety Center, and Gov. DeWine claims that he will order the training to be the maximum amount of time.
School districts still have a fair amount of say over their own campuses. A district or individual school can require additional training. They can designate that only certain people can carry. They can also still prohibit firearms all together. Cincinnati Public Schools will still ban teachers from carrying guns. More districts have said they will follow.
Ohio is not the only state that allows teachers to carry guns in school. Texas has allowed teachers to carry since 2013 through a training program they created after Sandy Hook. However, that program has not been particularly popular as only a couple hundred teachers have been authorized since its inception. Florida has a similar program that is similarly unpopular.
Proponents of efforts to arm teachers say that they can prevent or even completely deter future shootings where they are present. Opponents say that arming teachers could lead to accidents and could endanger students. Many schools already have individuals who carry firearms and situations where students have found their guns unattended are not particularly rare. Additionally, as conversations about school discipline and resource officers have been in the news lately, not everyone believes that teachers would resort to use of guns appropriately.
Read the full bill here.