CINCINNATI — There are changes coming to gun laws in Ohio as Governor Mike DeWine is expected to sign a bill Monday that would cut training time to arm teachers and school staff.
House Bill 99, which passed in the state senate last week, changes the training requirements to be armed on school grounds from 700 hours to 24 hours — and it’s sparking controversy.
"When you have a weapon like a gun, I think a lot of training around safety should definitely go into that,” said Clayton Adams, a committee chairperson with the Cincinnati Federation of Teachers.
The group is opposed and say the bill could cause more harm than good.
"I'm concerned on the safety of both students and staff when firearms are introduced to (the) classroom," Adams said. “There's so many unanswered questions surrounding the bill. Who will be paying to train the teachers on gun safety? Who will be training the teachers on how to use a firearm? Will teachers be paid extra for taking on these extra duties? Will the firearm be stored in a gun safe or worn on a teacher's body?”
The plan for the bill grew out of a shooting at Madison Junior-Senior High School in 2016. The district then allowed teachers and staff to be armed but got sued. The Supreme Court said they needed the same training as law enforcement. However, the new bill would change that.
“This is not requiring schools to do anything. It’s making lots of other options available to schools,” Joe Eaton, a program director with Faster Saves Lives, said.
The non-profit program — which was created by parents, law enforcement and nationally-recognized safety and medical experts — offers free training to schools that want teachers and staff to carry firearms.
“We’ve seen in every violent event in the past, simply calling 911 and waiting on outside help does nothing but cost lives," Eaton said. "We've worked with the nations experts for over 10 years and everyone tells you the same thing. It's all about time. Even waiting two to five minutes for help to arrive is too long when on average, every minute you allow the violence to continue you'll have an additional five or seven additional dead or injured. It's simply a matter of time."
Despite that outlook, the federation of teachers wants the focus to be on gun law reform.
Gov. DeWine will address everything on training and funding opportunities Monday morning at 10 a.m. during a press conference.
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