An Ohio law aimed at empowering teachers and school administrators to help protect students by allowing them to carry concealed firearms on school campuses went into effect last week.
The bill was introduced in the wake of the horrific Uvalde, Texas school shooting earlier this year in which law enforcement was fiercely criticized for waiting over an hour to neutralize the assailant.
“Some of the inner city schools have police officers at their school, some of these rural schools don’t have that luxury,” said its sponsor, Republican Rep. Thomas Hall.
It was signed into law on June 13 by Republican Governor Mike DeWine who said the law was meant “to continue to help our public and private schools get the tools they need to protect our children. … We have an obligation to do everything we can every single day to try and protect our kids.”
The law was accompanied by $100 million for K-12 schools to expand other security measures and training with an additional $6 million aimed at addressing youth mental health.
The Blaze notes that previously, only persons hired as security officers or otherwise given written permission by a school board were allowed to carry weapons in a school zone.
In 2021, the Ohio Supreme Court ruled that these individuals were required to have had 700 hours of peace officer training or 20 years experience in law enforcement.
“Peace officer training can be a financial and logistical obstacle to some educators who might otherwise be keen to safeguard the children under their supervision,” the outlet noted. “After all, basic peace officer training costs can exceed $5,000, and a minimum of 737 training hours are required.”
Under the new law, armed school employees are not subject to such stringent requirements and are required to undergo just 24 hours of training and 8 supplemental training hours annually and specific training requirements as approved by the Ohio School Safety Center.
They must also submit to an annual criminal records check.
Additionally, schools and school districts must also notify the public that they have authorized one or more persons to be armed on campus before employees would be allowed to do so.
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