Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine has signed a law making it easier for teachers to carry firearms in the classroom, according to NBC News. A bipartisan group of Senators has recently said they have reached a framework deal around some forms of gun safety involving ‘red flag’ laws and investments in school-based mental health programs. Some advocates don’t think the measures go far enough, but states like Ohio are determined to go a completely different (potentially dangerous) way.
Previously, teachers would need over 700 hours of training to have a gun on school grounds. Ohio’s new law drops that requirement down for teachers and staff only to require 24 hours of training. They will also only need to complete up to eight hours of continuing education each year. This move will also add to the anxieties of Black and students of color who have expressed their reservations about having more armed police at schools.
Gov. DeWine signed another bill in May that allows any person 21 and over not to need a permit, training, or background check to carry a concealed weapon out in the open as long as you are lawfully allowed to have one. Ohio is one of 23 states like Alabama and Texas that have these laws on the books.
Before this, Gov. DeWine is no stranger to criticism regarding the gun laws he supports. In 2021, Dewine signed an Ohio version of the “Stand Your Ground” law right after a shooting in Dayton claimed the lives of nine people and injured 27 more.
In a June 1st statement, Gov. Dewine attempted to explain the rationale beyond the new law.
“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 said.
The governor added that Ohio has provided $1.2 billion in wellness funding for schools to address mental health and other issues. Teachers across the country are overworked and underpaid. Now, they have to concern themselves with potentially stopping a school shooting on top of that.