DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) — After nearly four hours of heated testimony, House Bill 99 is moving forward in the Ohio Senate. The bill would significantly lower required training for teachers to carry firearms in school buildings.
Before Senator Frank Hoagland could announce the decision, he was met with opposition.
“This particular bill has just been ram-rodded through,” said Senator Cecil Thomas.
The bill was passed by the Senate’s Veterans and Public Safety Committee Tuesday afternoon after three dozen people voiced opposition to the bill, except for one.
“The truth is the courageous volunteers who would put themselves in harms way have extensive training, specifically in the type of scenario that occured in Texas,” said Buckeye Firearm Association Legislative Affairs Director Rob Sexton.
The bill would allow school districts to arm staff after 20 hours of training. Currently, the law requires Peace Officer Training, which means 728 hours before someone can carry a firearm in a school. The bill was already passed by Ohio’s House in a 58-33 vote in November 2021.
Both Ohio’s Education Association and the state’s Fraternal Order of Police oppose House Bill 99.
“Every parent and community member should know if their district is authorizing employees to carry weapons,” said Ohio Education Association President Scott Dimaurio. “It’s a bad idea, but if you go down this path, please don’t rush this.”
Many pleaded for lawmakers to discuss other options, anything besides placing more firearms in school buildings.
“Fairly funding our public schools would allow more school districts to hire appropriately trained school resource officers without watering down current law,” said Ohio Federation of Teachers Vice President Shari Obrenski.
“It only creates more danger and more stress and I want to grow up in a world where I’m not going to school and afraid for my life,” said Jackson Local School District student Katherine Hiland.
The next step, the Rules and Reference Committee will assign House Bill 99 for further deliberation and when it will be scheduled for a vote by all Senate members.