A bill that would give Ohio’s local school boards the power to allow employees to carry guns in school buildings gets its first Senate hearing in almost two months on Tuesday. However, gun control groups say the bill also eliminates required weapons training for those workers.
Susie Lane, who teaches first grade in Middletown and is with the group Moms Demand Action, said armed teachers and other volunteers don’t have to go through the same training that police officers who carry in schools do.
“Allowing school staff to carry firearms in school is dangerous. Allowing this to happen without extensive training and ongoing training is irresponsible," Lane said on a conference call with reporters organized by Moms Demand Action and other gun control groups.
Ottawa Hills High School senior Zack Maaieh said he opposes guns in schools, and that they can make students of color feel unsafe, especially Muslim students like him.
“This isn’t about politics," Maaieh said. "It’s about protecting students. And I don’t want to go to school with teachers carrying guns they have no idea how to use."
Moms Demand Action said it has research showing one in five incidents of gunfire in K-12 were accidental, and that teachers overwhelmingly oppose guns in schools.
The Buckeye Firearms Association supports the bill, saying most of the training isn’t related to school shooter situations.
In his prepared testimony for the bill's first hearing on May 27, the group's legislative affairs director Rob Sexton said the bill "removes the opportunity for alternate interpretations of this section of law and puts this decision where it belongs, in the hands of the local school district and those who would volunteer to provide this level of protection for our school kids."
The bill comes in response to a lawsuit filed by parents in Butler County who wanted to stop the Madison Local School District from allowing staff to carry guns. The Ohio Supreme Court is still considering that case.