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Ohio governor signs bill to reduce gun training requirements for teachers

Ohio governor signs bill to reduce gun training requirements for teachers
Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine signs House Bill 99 into law allowing teachers and school staff to carry guns with less training. File Photo by Chris Kleponis/UPI | License Photo

June 13 (UPI) -- Teachers and school staff in Ohio can carry guns into classrooms this fall without a permit after completing 24 hours of training under a new law signed Monday by Gov. Mike DeWine.

The armed teacher training law will go into effect in 90 days and will lower the number of training hours from 728 to 24, while giving school districts the right to require more. Teachers and staff, including janitors and bus drivers, would also have to complete an additional eight hours of gun training every year.

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"My office worked with the general assembly to remove hundreds of hours of curriculum irrelevant to school safety and to ensure training requirements were specific to a school environment and contained significant scenario-based training," DeWine said in a statement after House Bill 99 passed earlier this month.

Individual school boards would have the final say as to which teachers, if any, are armed and would be required to notify parents. All staff trained to carry guns would have to undergo an annual criminal background check.

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"I think it's a step in the right direction to help protect our children from the madness that's happening more and more these days," said firearms expert Jon Villing.

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The bill was signed into law after 19 children and two teachers were killed last month in a mass shooting at an elementary school in Uvalde, Texas, and 10 people were killed in a racially motivated shooting at a grocery store in Buffalo, N.Y.

But critics say 24 hours of gun training is not enough. "I think what folks need to understand as far as the law enforcement side goes, 60 hours of firearms training -- that's in the police academy," said Hamilton Township Police Chief Scott Hughes.

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Ohio is now the 23rd state in the country to allow adults over 21 to carry a concealed handgun without a permit.

"Just because you're not legally required to get training doesn't mean it's not a good idea," said Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost. "Using a firearm is not instinct, and watching TV shows is not training. Ohioans should learn how to handle their firearms from a qualified instructor. A trained citizen is a safe citizen."

Teachers at approximately 200 schools in Ohio carried guns last year before a court ruling increased training requirements.

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