Ohio governor to sign bill allowing armed school employees


By ANDREW WELSH-HUGGINS - Associated Press



Rob Sexton, lobbyist for Buckeye Firearms Association and a supporter of GOP legislation that would permit Ohio school districts to arm employees by creating training standards, testifies in favor of the latest version of the bill on Tuesday, May 31, 2022, in Columbus, Ohio. Sexton urged lawmakers not to make training requirements so burdensome that employees would decide against participating. (AP Photo/Andrew Welsh-Huggins)

Rob Sexton, lobbyist for Buckeye Firearms Association and a supporter of GOP legislation that would permit Ohio school districts to arm employees by creating training standards, testifies in favor of the latest version of the bill on Tuesday, May 31, 2022, in Columbus, Ohio. Sexton urged lawmakers not to make training requirements so burdensome that employees would decide against participating. (AP Photo/Andrew Welsh-Huggins)


Erin Gabbard, an opponent of GOP legislation that would permit Ohio school districts to arm employees by creating training standards, testifies against the latest version of the bill on Tuesday, May 31, 2022, in Columbus, Ohio. Gabbard was one of the parents at Madison local schools in southwestern Ohio who successfully sued in 2018 over the district's training requirements, arguing they should be much higher. (AP Photo/Andrew Welsh-Huggins)


COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — Ohio school districts could begin arming employees as soon as this fall under legislation approved by Republican lawmakers and set to be signed by GOP Gov. Mike DeWine.

Democrats said the proposal, which is optional for schools, sends the wrong message a week after the massacre of 19 children and two teachers at an elementary school in Uvalde, Texas. Republicans say the measure could prevent such shootings. Lawmakers fast-tracked the legislation to counter the impact of a court ruling that said, under current law, armed school workers would need hundreds of hours of training.

The bill will protect children by ensuring instruction is specific to schools and including significant scenario-based training, DeWine said late Wednesday in announcing his support.

The measure is opposed by major law enforcement groups, gun control advocates, and the state’s teachers’ unions, which asked DeWine to veto the measure. It’s supported by a handful of police departments and school districts.

Under the latest version of the bill, school employees who carry guns would need up to 24 hours of initial training, then up to eight hours of requalification training annually.

DeWine, who is expected to sign the bill later this month, also announced that the state’s construction budget will provide $100 million for school security upgrades in schools and $5 million for upgrades at colleges.

Rob Sexton, lobbyist for Buckeye Firearms Association and a supporter of GOP legislation that would permit Ohio school districts to arm employees by creating training standards, testifies in favor of the latest version of the bill on Tuesday, May 31, 2022, in Columbus, Ohio. Sexton urged lawmakers not to make training requirements so burdensome that employees would decide against participating. (AP Photo/Andrew Welsh-Huggins)
https://www.portsmouth-dailytimes.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/28/2022/06/web1_128983709-c4feb87b9fab4bb4bfb914255e8f0538.jpgRob Sexton, lobbyist for Buckeye Firearms Association and a supporter of GOP legislation that would permit Ohio school districts to arm employees by creating training standards, testifies in favor of the latest version of the bill on Tuesday, May 31, 2022, in Columbus, Ohio. Sexton urged lawmakers not to make training requirements so burdensome that employees would decide against participating. (AP Photo/Andrew Welsh-Huggins)

Erin Gabbard, an opponent of GOP legislation that would permit Ohio school districts to arm employees by creating training standards, testifies against the latest version of the bill on Tuesday, May 31, 2022, in Columbus, Ohio. Gabbard was one of the parents at Madison local schools in southwestern Ohio who successfully sued in 2018 over the district’s training requirements, arguing they should be much higher. (AP Photo/Andrew Welsh-Huggins)
https://www.portsmouth-dailytimes.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/28/2022/06/web1_128983709-688ca1c88d604893ba43905a1c2bf236.jpgErin Gabbard, an opponent of GOP legislation that would permit Ohio school districts to arm employees by creating training standards, testifies against the latest version of the bill on Tuesday, May 31, 2022, in Columbus, Ohio. Gabbard was one of the parents at Madison local schools in southwestern Ohio who successfully sued in 2018 over the district’s training requirements, arguing they should be much higher. (AP Photo/Andrew Welsh-Huggins)

By ANDREW WELSH-HUGGINS

Associated Press