Monday, Ohio Governor Mike DeWine signed a law bill allowing school districts across the state to begin arming employees as soon as this falls. DeWine announced in a news conference Monday the law requires up to 24 hours of training before a teacher can go armed and up to 8 hours of annual training. The training programs will have to be approved by the Ohio School and Safety Center before use. Schools are also able to provide additional training if they would like to. DeWine also announced several other school safety measures that he and other lawmakers are currently working on, including $100 million for school security upgrades and $5 million for college upgrades. In addition, $1.2 billion have been provided to schools for wellness funding to address mental health and other issues schools may be having.
DeWine emphasized that the law is not a requirement but an option for schools that want to protect children. DeWine stated he prefers hiring school resource officers (SRO) but noted that “the new law is giving schools an option based on their particular circumstances to make the best decision they can make with the best information they have.” Democrat mayors across the state came together to criticize DeWine. The new law stating Republican lawmakers failed to consider gun control proposals such as universal background checks and red flag laws which take firearms away from anyone who is perceived as a threat, raising the legal age to purchase a firearm to 21, and a ban on assault rifles. Democrat and former Dayton Ohio Mayor Nan Whaley, currently DeWine’s opponent for Governor, criticized DeWine for signing the armed school employees bill. As well as other bills, one of which was a stand your ground bill and a concealed weapons permit optional bill which allows citizens to carry concealed weapons without a permit.
Democrat lawmakers say the new bill sends the wrong message, especially soon after the Uvalde shooting. However, Republicans argue that arming teachers could have prevented shootings like the one in Uvalde.
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