Ohio is likely to pass legislation allowing teachers and other school personnel to carry weapons in their classrooms after completing up to 24 hours of basic training.
Advocates believe that arming teachers will lower the number and severity of school shootings, which have become all too common in the United States. Teachers’ unions and the state’s largest police officer union are among those who oppose the law, claiming that it would only make schools more hazardous for students.
The measure was passed ten days after a kid assaulted a school in Uvalde, Texas, using an AR-15-style weapon. The atrocity claimed the lives of 19 students and two teacher.
Ohio Republican Governor Mike DeWine has stated that he will sign the measure into law.
The law was enacted this week by the Ohio General Assembly, which is controlled by Republicans. It was intended to defuse a decision by the Ohio Supreme Court last year that found a long-standing state statute required teachers to complete more than 700 hours of peace officer training before they could be equipped with a gun on school grounds.
The bill’s supporters said that it would allow school workers to fight an armed assailant before the police arrived.
“Seconds matter in emergency circumstances at our schools, and tragedies can be avoided,” said Representative Thomas Hall, the bill’s author.
Armed instructors would be subjected to criminal background checks and get an additional 8 hours of training each year.
Since the Uvalde shooting, DeWine’s administration has worked with lawmakers “to eliminate hundreds of hours of curriculum extraneous to school safety, and to ensure training requirements were suited to a school context,” according to a statement.
In a joint statement, the Ohio Education Association and the Ohio Federation of Teachers argued the law was hurried and hazardous.
They said that the law would “Without enough preparation, educators are placed in the untenable situation of making split-second life-or-death judgments. This will almost certainly result in further catastrophes in our schools.”
If school districts opt to let armed instructors into school grounds, they must warn parents under the new rule. It was unclear how many school districts would opt to allow instructors to carry firearms.