Ohio Senate intervened to allow teachers and school staff to carry firearms without undergoing the mandatory 728-hour peace officer training. The GOP-led legislature passed Senate Bill 317 by 21 - 10 on Wednesday, inching closer to making the schools safer.
If the house approves the bill, it will end the court battle between the Madison Local School District Board of Education and a group of parents led by Erin Gabbard and represented by Bloomberg's Everytown Law.
The anti-gun parents moved to court to stop the arming of teachers, arguing that the school's 26-hour training was inadequate to allow teachers to carry firearms safely in the school. Instead, they suggested a 728-hour program, which was almost unattainable by the teachers who must juggle between work and full-time law enforcement training.
An Ohio 12th District Court of Appeals ruled in favor of the anti-gun parents forcing the school district to move to the Ohio Supreme Court. The court granted the school board a temporary reprieve awaiting the final determination of the case.
The bill sponsor, Republican State Sen. Bill Coley, said the appellate court "went off the reservation" with the ruling. He added that the new law would ensure that "school districts in my area of the state can have the same rights that all of your school districts in your areas of the state have."
Gun-rights groups argued that school districts should be allowed to select the most appropriate safety measures for their schools rather than having the state dictate ineffective solutions.
Attorney General Dave Yost also supported the school district's argument and asked the court to grant it. However, Democrats opposed the safety measures suggested by the school district.
"No child in Ohio should have to worry about if there is a gun at school, or if the person with the gun has had proper training," said Sen. Hearcel Craig (D - Columbus).
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