COLUMBUS—State Rep. Tavia Galonski (D-Akron) issued a statement today following the House passage of House Bill (HB) 99, Republican legislation that would allow teachers and staff to be armed in schools. House Democrats voted against the extreme proposal.
“The passage of HB 99 is a step in the wrong direction that will only make our schools and communities less safe,” said Rep. Galonski. “Classrooms are the last place where we need more guns, especially in the hands of lesser-trained individuals. HB 99 would also make schools liable should an accident involving armed teachers occur. Republicans would rather arm teachers than fully fund our schools and invest in wraparound services that would actually address the roots of gun violence.”
Democrats offered an amendment during session today that would:
Require schools to notify parents annually if teachers and school staff will be armed;
Require the Attorney General develop the training plan for these armed teachers and staff.
Republicans rejected the amendment.
During committee hearings, Democrats expressed concern that HB 99 only requires 20 hours of training for armed teachers. In 2014, then-Attorney General Mike DeWine signed off on a recommendation for a model curriculum for such armed teachers and staff requiring no less than 152 hours of training for teachers and school staff who would go armed.
Police, teachers’ unions, civil rights groups and students all testified in opposition to HB 99.
Republicans also passed HB 227 during session today, which would allow anyone aged 21 or older to carry a concealed weapon without a license, without having to meet current concealed carry training requirements and without having to promptly inform police of concealed weapons during a traffic stop. Additionally, HB 227 eliminates penalties altogether for failing to notify law enforcement if you are carrying a weapon.
HB 99 now heads to the Senate for further consideration.