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Wednesday, September 28, 2022

The state of Ohio is making it easier for teachers to carry concealed weapons in school

After the signing of a measure into law on Monday by Governor Mike DeWine, school personnel in the state of Ohio, including teachers, will be permitted to bring weapons into school grounds with just a small fraction of the training that has been necessary since the beginning of the school year.

Employees have been permitted to carry firearms on school grounds with the consent of the local school board for a number of years. However, in 2021, the Ohio Supreme Court ruled that state law required employees to first complete the same basic peace officer training as law enforcement officials or security officers who carry firearms on campus. This training consisted of more than 700 hours of instruction and was mandatory for employees.

Mr. DeWine said on Monday that as a result of that finding, it is now generally unfeasible for Ohio school districts to let members of their staff to carry guns.

According to the new legislation, a maximum of twenty-four hours of training will be sufficient for teachers to be able to carry pistols at school; however, the consent of the local board will still be required. According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, legislation in twenty-eight states permit anyone other than security staff to carry guns on school premises. Laws in nine of those states expressly name school workers as an exception to the general rule. Recent surveys conducted in the United States and among teachers have shown that the vast majority of both groups are opposed to the concept of arming educators.

The new legislation in Ohio, which was rushed through the State Senate in a hurry following the school shooting in Uvalde, Texas, was approved on June 1 along approximately political lines, with two Republicans joining all Democrats in voting against it. This was after the school massacre in Uvalde, Texas. In November, the law was approved by the House of Representatives, and the vote was almost entirely along party lines; however, one Republican joined the Democrats in voting against the bill.

During the time that the measure was making its way through the legislative process, there was a growing amount of resistance to it. During the hearings on the measure, which were attended by hundreds of people, committee rooms were crowded to capacity, and all but two or three of the speakers spoke against the bill. The opponents of the bill included advocates for stricter gun control as well as educators, members of school boards, representatives of police unions, and police chiefs.

This is the second significant piece of gun legislation that Republican Governor Mike DeWine has signed into law so far this year. The first of these changes, which took effect on Monday, does away with the need to have a licence in order to carry a concealed firearm.

After a massacre in Dayton in 2019 in which nine people were murdered and 17 were injured by a young man who opened fire outside of a club, the governor was put under strong pressure to confront the issue of gun violence. In the days that followed the massacre, a throng at a vigil welcomed Mr. DeWine with loud chanting of “Do Something!” This phrase would become something of a credo for people who are seeking action on the issue of gun violence.

Initially, Mr. DeWine voiced his support for a measure known as a “red flag law,” but the Republican-controlled legislature has not brought it up for a vote, nor has any other proposal to place restrictions on access to firearms.

In 2021, Mr. DeWine signed a legislation known as “Stand Your Ground,” which let anyone to use lethal force in self-defense without first making an effort to flee a potentially hazardous situation. In March, he put his signature on the law that would make it legal to carry a concealed weapon without a permit. During the discussion that preceded the most recent measure, Republicans claimed that dramatically decreasing the amount of training that is necessary for teachers to carry firearms was in and of itself a response to the requests that people have made for action on gun violence.

The only thing the Democrats could do in the face of their overwhelming numerical disadvantage in the legislature was to criticise the law and warn of the possible ramifications it may have.

Jonathan James
I serve as a Senior Executive Journalist of The National Era
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