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Ohio House passes bill to reduce gun-training time needed to arm teachers

(The Center Square) – Ohio school districts wanting to arm teachers could have requirements reduced from more than 700 hours of gun training to a minimum of 28 hours if legislation that has passed the Ohio House becomes law.

Rep. Thomas Hall, R-Madison Township, introduced the legislation in April. It would require school employees to complete the eight-hour concealed carry weapon training, an additional 18 hours of general training and two hours of handgun training to carry a gun on campus.

The bill's goal is to replace training requirements set earlier this year by the Ohio Supreme Court in a ruling that established police-level training for school employees.

House Bill 99 passed the House, 59-33, on Wednesday. All House Democrats voted against the bill.

“This bill is about giving power to local officials to decide what is in the best interest of their schools,” Hall said. “In the end, we all want our students and educators to feel safe, and House Bill 99 accomplishes that.”

Rep. David Leland, D-Columbus, offered two amendments that would have required schools to notify parents before arming school personnel and the Ohio Peace Office Training Commission to develop a training plan for teachers and staff without legislative interference. Both amendments were rejected.

“Sadly, in its current form, HB 99 falls dangerously short of the goal to protect Ohio schoolchildren,” Leland said. “It fails to provide sufficient notification to parents about the arming of school personnel, and its woefully inadequate training requirement will actually make our schools less safe.”

Hall's father served as Madison High School's only armed school resource officer in 2016 when he chased a shooter who was firing at students out of a school building. The shooter later was arrested.

“I will never forget the feeling I had or the phone call from my mother on that day,” Hall said. “The lives of many families, including my own, in my hometown of Madison Township, will never forget that day.”

The House also has passed a bill that removes the requirement of having a concealed weapons permit in the state and eliminates a person’s duty to notify police officers if they are carrying a concealed weapon.

“This bill supports the constitutional rights and freedoms of law-abiding Ohioans,” Rep. Shane Wilkin, R-Hillsboro, said. “Criminals aren’t going to follow the law. I proudly stand in support of ensuring law-abiding Ohioans are able to protect themselves and their loved ones.”

Democrats argued the legislation would allow guns to fall into the hands of criminals.

“This bill does not make safer communities or a stronger state,” said Rep. Jessica Miranda, D-Forest Park, co-founder of the Ohio Gun Violence Prevention Caucus. “As a concealed carry permit holder myself, HB 227 does not promote responsible gun ownership, and only increases the likelihood that guns will make their way into dangerous hands.”

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