Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine signed a bill into law Monday allowing school districts across the state to authorize teachers, principals and other staff to carry guns into classrooms with just 24 hours of training.
The new law, which was initially introduced by state Republican Rep. Thomas Hall as House Bill 99, will lower the required training hours for the armed personnel from about 700 hours to just four hours of training in scenario-based or simulated training exercises and a maximum of 20 hours for first aid training, history of school shootings and reunification education, The Columbus Dispatch reported.
For context, if a teacher was able to set aside 3 hours every weekend for firearm training, it would take them a little under 4 and a half years to pass the 700 hour requirement. Using the same measure, a teacher could pass the 24 hour training requirement in 8 weeks.
“In life we make choices, and we don’t always know what the outcome is going to be,” DeWine said at a press conference Monday. “What this Legislature has done, I’ve done by signing it, is giving schools an option based on their particular circumstances to make the best decision they can make with the best information they have. That’s all any decision-maker can do.”
“This does not require any school to arm teachers or staff,” DeWine said at a press conference on Monday after signing the law. “Every school will make its own decision.”
The bill also allocates funds for mental-health programs and other school-safety measures.
The signing comes weeks after the shooting at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas, which left 21 people dead including 19 students and two teachers.
“Although this bill was in development before the recent tragedy in Texas, that heartbreaking school shooting certainly, certainly increased the urgency to enact it,” DeWine told reporters.
After the bill was passed by Ohio’s state legislature earlier this month, DeWine said in a statement that “I look forward to signing this important legislation.”
Nan Whaley, who is Ohio’s Democratic candidate for governor, wrote on Twitter that “Mike DeWine has made Ohio less safe.”
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