Ohio Republicans move bill to cut the 700-plus hours of required training for teachers to be armed

Legislation introduced by GOP House member whose father was only armed school resource officer in 2016 when a shooter fired at students

Updated: November 19, 2021 - 8:27am

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Ohio Republicans are trying pass a measure in the state legislature that would vastly reduce the required gun-training time for school districts that want to arm teachers.

The measure reduces the time to a minimum 28 hours from over 700 and has already passed in the House.

State GOP Rep. Thomas Hal introduced the legislation in April. It would require school employees to complete the eight-hour concealed-carry weapon training, an additional 18 hours of general training and two hours of handgun training to carry a gun on campus.

The bill's goal is to replace training requirements set earlier this year by the Ohio Supreme Court in a ruling that established police-level training for school employees.

House Bill 99 passed the House, 59-33, on Wednesday. All House Democrats voted against the bill.

"This bill is about giving power to local officials to decide what is in the best interest of their schools," Hall said. "In the end, we all want our students and educators to feel safe, and House Bill 99 accomplishes that."

State Rep. David Leland, D-Columbus, offered two amendments that would have required schools to notify parents before arming school personnel and the Ohio Peace Office Training Commission to develop a training plan for teachers and staff without legislative interference. Both amendments were rejected.

"In its current form, HB 99 falls dangerously short of the goal to protect Ohio schoolchildren," Leland said. "It fails to provide sufficient notification to parents about the arming of school personnel, and its woefully inadequate training requirement will actually make our schools less safe."

Hall's father served as Madison High School's only armed school resource officer in 2016 when he chased a shooter who was firing at students out of a school building. The shooter later was arrested.

"I will never forget the feeling I had or the phone call from my mother on that day," Hall said. "The lives of many families, including my own, in my hometown of Madison Township, will never forget that day."

The House also has passed a bill that removes the requirement of having a concealed weapons permit in the state and eliminates a person’s duty to notify police officers if they are carrying a concealed weapon.

Democrats argued the legislation would allow guns to fall into the hands of criminals.