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Rep. Robinson opposes GOP gun bill that makes schools and communities less safe

June 1, 2022
Phillip M. Robinson, Jr. News

COLUMBUS — State Rep. Phil Robinson (D-Solon) issued a statement today following the passage of House Bill (HB) 99, Republican legislation that would allow teachers and staff to be armed in schools without adequate training or safe storage requirements.

“This is dangerous legislation that will make our schools and communities less safe. HB 99 will make law enforcement’s jobs more difficult, will harm more students of color in escalated situations and accidental shootings, and will only further discourage young people from becoming teachers in Ohio when we’re already in desperate need for good educators,” said Rep. Robinson.

Law enforcement, teachers’ unions, local educators, civil rights groups, and students strongly oppose this legislation, bringing more guns into schools, and the effects it would have on our children and schools. A 2018 survey found that 80% of teachers were “strongly opposed” to having armed faculty in schools.

Ohio’s Fraternal Order of Police noted that the 24 minimal training hours required by HB 99 is significantly less than the hundreds of hours of training required for police officers. Democrats have consistently brought these concerns up during hearings and discussions.

Nearly 90% of all high-fatality gun massacres since 1966 at least partly occurred in areas where civilian guns were allowed or there was armed security or law enforcement present. The myth that arming teachers and keeping guns in classrooms will ensure the safety of students is not one supported by data.

“I heard some very troubling comments on the House floor by other members who are supporters of this bill. One in particular was, ‘School shootings have been around for decades and they aren’t going anywhere. They’re here to stay.’ Other democracies around the world don’t have the amount of school shootings the U.S. does, but HB 99 supporters would have us accept this as the norm in Ohio and America. 

Instead of arming teachers and accepting high levels of gun violence, we must address the issue with common sense safety measures like universal background checks, extreme risk protection orders or ‘red flag’ laws, and safe gun storage at home. We also need to fully enact fair school funding and provide more wraparound services support so school districts can hire more trained resource officers and address students’ social, emotional and safety needs. 

 This is how we address the root causes of school shootings, support law enforcement, drastically reduce gun violence, and help schools protect, while educating, students. 

I strongly urge Gov. DeWine to veto HB 99, and renew his original promise after the Dayton mass shooting,” said Rep. Robinson.

Rep. Robinson is joint sponsor of HB 259, which would create universal background checks in Ohio if made into law. The bill was introduced in April 2021 and has not been given any hearings in the House State & Local Government committee.

HB 99 now heads to the Governor’s desk for approval.