COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) – Republican Gov. Mike DeWine, joined Monday morning by Lt. Gov. Jon Husted, confirmed he has signed a bill that allows teachers and education staff to carry guns with training slimmed down from peace officer requirements.
The governor’s meeting started at 10 a.m. – on the same day permitless carry goes into effect for the state – at the Ohio Department of Public Safety. DeWine said at 10:12 a.m. that he signed House Bill 99 before elaborating on the details of the legislation. He previously asked the Ohio General Assembly to pass House Bill 99, and then said he looked forward “to signing this important legislation,” when lawmakers passed it. The bill would allow teachers and other education staff the option, determined by their local school board, to carry guns after a minimum of 24 hours of training.
The training as stipulated in the bill breaks down as follows:
- 18 hours of general training
- Two hours of handgun training
- Two hours of “additional” general training
- Two hours of “additional” handgun training
Alongside allowing teachers to carry firearms, he also added that the legislation would expand the Ohio School Safety Center. While not part of the bill, DeWine said he also directed the school safety center to expand its staffing to increase the number of liaison officers assisting schools.
DeWine began the meeting by focusing on other school safety measures aside from the legislation letting teachers carry firearms. He touted the Ohio School Safety Center that his administration created, which he said scans social media for threats against schools, and also established a statewide school alert line.
HB 99 was drafted prior to the May 24 shooting at a Texas elementary school that left 19 children and two teachers dead. However, DeWine brought it up as one of the multiple pieces of legislation he was pushing for in response. The measures, while less focused on restricting firearms in the state, had a better chance of passing in the conservative-controlled legislature, according to the governor.
“Look, my job is to get as much done as I can that will actually get done,” DeWine said. “I can get up and give speeches every day about certain things, but if there’s no chance they’re going to happen, I’m wasting everybody’s time.”
The Ohio Education Association, which represents around 120,000 teachers in the state, released a statement later in the afternoon disapproving of the signed bill.
“DeWine’s decision to sign this dangerous legislation on the same day that Ohio’s new law allowing just about anyone to carry a concealed weapon with zero training takes effect truly shows where his priorities lie,” said OEA President Scott DiMauro.
DeWine previously signed other legislation related to firearms, such as a “Stand Your Ground” self-defense law that took effect on April 6, 2021. That law allows Ohioans to use force in self-defense without trying to leave the situation.