An Ohio law allowing teachers to carry guns in the classroom is now in effect.
House Bill 99, the legislation that permits teachers and staff to carry firearms on campus after 24 hours of training and eight annual training hours, was signed in June and became law on Monday.
“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,” Ohio Republican Gov. Mike DeWine said in a June statement regarding the law’s signing.
“House Bill 99 accomplishes these goals, and I thank the General Assembly for passing this bill to protect Ohio children and teachers,” he added.
Local school boards retain the authority to determine whether teachers in their district can possess a firearm on school campuses.
Despite the new law designed to increase school safety, several school districts across the state quickly responded by banning the practice on their campuses. Akron Public Schools and Beachwood City Schools were among those to oppose the new law.
“We, therefore, stand united in calling for common-sense solutions to keep schools safe and opposing arming school staff,” the Akron Public School board announced. “We support the board’s resolution and policy changes aimed at keeping our schools safe by refusing to use the option that this new law offers. By doing so, we are keeping our focus on providing the highest quality education to all of our scholars.”
Despite the school districts that have opted out, the legislation seeks to offer more options for local schools to protect students, teachers, and staff following a rise in school shootings.
Several school safety reforms have been proposed nationwide following a mass shooting in Uvalde, Texas, that killed 19 students and two teachers in May at Robb Elementary School.
In Ohio, the legislation follows a tragic 2016 shooting during which a 14-year-old student opened fire on fellow students in a school cafeteria.