(WKBN) – A new law on the books in Ohio aims to clarify how much time teachers will need to spend training before they’re allowed to carry firearms in school.
One local sheriff thinks the new law could create additional hurdles for law enforcement in an emergency.
“We have an obligation to do everything that we can, every single day, to try and protect our children,” said Gov. Mike DeWine.
Ohio’s governor says the signing of House Bill 99 into law on Monday will not mean we will immediately see school employees carrying firearms in every district.
“It does not require any school in the state of Ohio to arm teachers or their staff members. Schools are not required to do this,” DeWine said.
DeWine says existing law allows police and private security guards to be armed in schools, as well as anyone with written authorization from the local board of education.
The new legislation requires employees have at least 24 hours of training before they can carry weapons, with eight additional hours each year.
In the wake of last month’s student shooting in Lowellville and the arrest of a woman who went to the school with a gun in her hand, Mahoning County Sheriff Jerry Greene says the change could create another hurdle for law enforcement.
“Because now, not only are you dealing with getting in there and trying to eliminate the threat, you’re dealing with somebody else, a civilian, that has a firearm,” Greene said.
The new law does allow school districts to opt out of arming their teachers, as well as allowing for districts to require more extensive training than just the state minimum, and that’s something the sheriff says he favors.
“Certainly more is better. It’s the same with law enforcement, it’s the same with us. Handling our weapons, when we do our job, more training is always better,” Greene said.
At this point, the sheriff says it’s still too early to say whether this new law will help or hurt.