OHIO, USA — Ohio Governor Mike DeWine on Thursday said he intends to sign a bill that would allow state school employees to arm themselves.
DeWine addressed the bill during a manufacturing event in northeast Ohio. When asked about House Bill 99, he said the legislation would provide extra protection for students.
"That's our commitment to our schools, to our parents [and] to our students," the governor said.
The bill was passed by the Ohio Senate and House on Wednesday.
House Bill 99 aims to undo the effect of an Ohio Supreme Court ruling last year, which held that under current law armed school workers would need hundreds of hours of training.
Under the latest version of the bill, school employees who carry guns would need up to 24 hours of initial training, then up to eight hours of requalification training annually.
The bill didn't specify a total minimum training requirement, leading to criticism from Democrats that the legislation is being pushed too quickly without all the details.
Training must include how to stop an active shooter, how to de-escalate a violent situation, trauma and first-aid care, at least four hours in “scenario-based or simulated training exercises,” and completing “tactical live firearms training,” according to the bill.
DeWine said it is up to the school district whether to arm educators and staff members. If they opt-in to be armed, teachers would receive training every year.
"We will also be giving the schools the choice of providing additional training. That we would stake out, provide for in case that they want more than 24 hours for a teacher,” the governor said.
The bill is opposed by major law enforcement groups and gun control advocates, and supported by a handful of police departments and school districts. More than two dozen states allow the arming of school employees under some circumstances.
DeWine did not say when the bill will be signed.