Republican Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine on Monday made it easier for Ohio teachers to protect their students.
House Bill 99, which DeWine signed, reduces the number of training hours required to carry a gun from 700 to 24, according to Newsweek.
The bill allows local school boards to add any additional training local boards believe is necessary.
“Our goal is to continue to help our public and private schools get the tools they need to protect our children,” DeWine said. “We have an obligation to do everything we can every single day to try and protect our kids.”
DeWine said he believes the best course for schools is to have armed school resource officers, but he said communities deserve the most flexibility possible to make decisions for themselves, according to WKYC.
The new law “is giving schools an option, based on their particular circumstances, to make the best decision they can make with the best information they have,” DeWine said.
“Each school board will determine what’s best for their students, their staff and their community,” DeWine explained, Newsweek reported.
The new law requires that school personnel who want to carry a weapon undergo eight hours of refresher training annually.
In a release issued after the bill passed the state Legislature, DeWine said the measure was a partnership.
“My office worked with the General Assembly to remove hundreds of hours of curriculum irrelevant to school safety and to ensure training requirements were specific to a school environment and contained significant scenario-based training,” he said.
“Those 700 hours of training are intended to broadly train law enforcement,” DeWine said Monday, according to CNN. “The vast majority of that training is not really relevant to a school safety, directly.”
DeWine noted that school staff “authorized to carry guns in schools must have a criminal background check each year under the bill.”
The legislation creates the Ohio School Safety Center comprised of a chief mobile training officer and 16 regional officers, according to WLWT-TV. The center will help schools develop training and safety plans.
“I think it’s a step in the right direction to help protect our children from the madness that’s happening more and more these days,” said Jon Villing, a firearms expert.
He said teachers need to take any weapons training they receive very seriously.
“Nobody understands what your body and your brain are, how you’re going to react when your heart rate goes through outer space and then back, right. I mean, you’re going to be scared when something like that happens,” Villing said.
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