It’s been one step forward and two steps backward as Ohio on Monday passed a law allowing teachers to carry concealed weapons with minimal training while as of July 1, in Washington State, restrictions go into effect on high-capacity ammo magazines and open-carry rules.
Ohio Republican Gov. Mike DeWine has really poor timing.
While the Congress is considering a modest federal law to prevent gun violence, DeWine on Monday signed a new state law that allows Ohio school teachers to carry concealed weapons after getting just 24 hours of training.
The governor’s decision was timed for the same day that another new Ohio law goes into effect allowing people to carry concealed weapons with no prior training. I’m not going to Ohio.
In Washington State, a new law bans the manufacture, distribution and sale of firearm magazines that hold more than 10 rounds of ammunition. The law, however, does not prohibit the possession of such magazines. Gun-rights advocates plan to sue.
The plan under Congressional consideration would be the first significant new U.S. gun law in decades. It includes support for state “red flag” laws keeping firearms from potentially dangerous people, tougher criminal background checks for gun buyers under age 21 and a crackdown on “straw purchases” by people buying weapons for others who could not pass a background check.
I guess Gov. DeWine believes the trick to getting guns out of schools is to allow more guns in schools. I can see Mrs. Magillicuddy reaching into her purse, calmly drawing her concealed 9 mm and having the necessary composure to take down a crazed gunman who is screaming like a madmen, while children are in terror as they are sprayed with deadly rounds in an avalanche of death. Yes, that would work. I can only wonder if the governor has any taste to banning semi-automatic, assault rifles of the type that is a favorite among mass school shooters. I guess not.
“I think it gets down to this: Do we want our kids to have a fighting chance in the event that the worst happens, right,” said one of the bill’s supporters, Rob Sexton, legislative affairs director for the Buckeye Firearms Association. “And for us, we’d just like a school to be able to have that option. Allows local school districts to make their own decisions.”
The National Education Association and the American Federation of Teachers have long opposed arming teachers as a way to cut gun violence at schools. A 2019 national survey of 2,926 teachers, including more than 450 gun owners, conducted in the aftermath of the mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., found that more than 95 percent of educators did not believe teachers should be carrying a gun in the classroom. Only about 6 percent said they would be comfortable using a gun to stop a shooter.
The new laws come in the wake of the latest mass school shooting at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Tex., where a teenager opened fire on a pair of classrooms, killing 19 fourth-graders and two teachers.
Ohio already permits teachers to be armed, but they must get permission of their school board and complete 700 hours of training as a peace officer. DeWine said that under the new law, school staff who want to carry weapons will be required to have at least 24 hours of training, or 576 fewer hours than are required for police. The DeWine law mandates at least 18 hours of general training, two hours of handgun training, two hours of “additional” general training, and two hours of “additional” handgun training. It takes more training to learn to drive.
Ohio joins a number of other school districts around the nation that have made it easier for teachers to pack a gun while teaching biology. The United States Concealed Carry Association, based in Charleston, S.C., reported that 32 states allow teachers and staff to carry a firearm on campus, with certain restrictions. A May report from the National Conference of State Legislatures says that in 18 states, a license is not required and that anyone can carry a gun in school with permission from a school authority. The states include Alaska, Arizona, Connecticut, Georgia, Iowa, Kansas, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Michigan, Montana, New Jersey, New York, Nevada, Ohio, Oregon, Texas, Utah and Vermont. Other states have various restrictions.
The United States Concealed Carry Association cited a 2014 study conducted by Eric Dietz, a Purdue professor and homeland security expert, who found that “having either an armed guard or armed staff on school grounds can reduce the number of casualties in a mass shooting situation by up to 70 percent by, at the very least, slowing an attacker.”
In the aftermath of the 2018 shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., Florida passed a law permitting educators to be armed. A school shooting in Texas that occurred just a few months after Parkland inspired the state, which already permitted certain school staff to be armed, to create a school marshal program to train armed staff to respond to school shootings.
Since 2013, Texas has allowed teachers and other school employees to be armed, under its “school marshal” program. But in nine years, the state has only licensed 256 marshals in 62 of the state’s 1,029 school districts, according to the Texas Commission on Law Enforcement.
The Trace, a non-profit journalism outlet devoted to gun-related news in the United States, was established in 2015. The Trace reported that there have been few documented cases in which an armed security guard or police officers have stopped a school shooting.
“Last year in Dixon, Ill., a school resource officer chased a gunman off a high school campus, shooting and injuring the perpetrator, who survived. But it’s more likely for active shooters to stop firing on their own, either by leaving or taking their own lives,” Trace reported.
Trace also referred to a report from the Advanced Law Enforcement Rapid Response Training (ALERRT) program at Texas State University that studied responses to active shooter incidents.
“According to ALERRT’s 2013 analysis of 160 incidents, lethal force from police or bystanders brought an end to a little less than a third of active shooter rampages, but not usually in schools,” Trace reported. “In the 25 shootings in the ALERRT study that targeted schools, none were brought to an end by armed staff, guards or police officers returning fire. These shootings most commonly ended when the shooters were restrained by unarmed staff.”
The new Ohio law regarding concealed firearms allows people 21 or older to conceal the weapon without training or a permit. The new law also eliminates the requirement that those carrying guns “promptly” inform law enforcement when stopped and instead, the gun owner will have to inform only when an officer asks if he or she is carrying a weapon.
DeWine also signed into law a measure that allows people to use deadly force in self-defense in public places without first considering retreating.
DeWine began his career as a prosecutor before being elected to the Ohio State Senate, later served as a U.S. Representative from 1983 until 1991, U.S. Senator from 1995 to 2007, and the 50th attorney general of Ohio from 2011 to 2019.
His record on past gun control efforts contradicts his latest position. The new law allowing teachers to carry guns in Ohio represents a change in heart for DeWine, 75, who has repeatedly received an “F” rating from the National Rifle Association (NRA) although the NRA endorsed him for governor. In the 2006 election cycle, DeWine was the first senatorial candidate to be endorsed by the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence.
His first tilt toward tightening gun laws came after the Aug. 4, 2019, mass shooting in Dayton, Ohio, that killed 10 and injured 27. It came just 13 hours after another mass shooting in El Paso, Texas. Two days after the Dayton carnage, DeWine supported a so-called “red flag” law which allowed judges to confiscate firearms from those deemed potentially dangerous and to provide those individuals with mental health treatment while maintaining their due process rights. DeWine also proposed expanded background checks before purchasing a firearm, increased access to psychiatric and behavioral health services, and increased penalties for illegally possessing firearms.
In 2004, DeWine co-sponsored an amendment to renew the Federal Assault Weapons Ban. He also was one of only two Republican Senators to vote against the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act, which banned lawsuits against gun manufacturers, distributors and dealers for criminal misuse of their products.
DeWine’s positions have been directly opposite of those of most Republican members of Congress and the NRA which vehemently oppose banning assault weapons, resist red flag and laws and support protecting gun manufacturers from lawsuits for criminal misuse of their products.
For teachers who want to polish up on their gun skills, the fifth annual, National Train a Teacher Day, will be held in Meriden, Conn., on Saturday, June 18, hosted by Northern Sky Firearms Training LLC and sponsored by the United States Concealed Carry Association, Taser and Sabre Red, a company that makes pepper spray and Armed Women of America, an Arizona-based non-profit that provides “a welcoming, non-intimidating place for women to learn more about the safe and responsible use of firearms, including firearms safety, personal protection, concealed carry, mindset and so much more.”
Participants at National Train a Teacher Day will learn a variety of skills, from first aid and stopping bleeding to firearm use and safety to instructions on using Tasers, pepper spray and more.
There have been some outrageous suggestions to deal with school shootings. Axon, the maker of Taser stun guns, wants to put them on drones that could be directed to classrooms to stop school shootings. The campaign was halted after negative reactions from the company’s board because of privacy concerns and because hundreds of people have died after police used Tasers on them.
For those who want to arm and protect teachers and kids, the billion dollar school safety industry is where to look.
Security Pro USA of Los Angeles offers mobile ballistic white board for $5,999 but reduced to $5,495. The white boards can be used as bullet-proof barricades.
“Use them every day, with whiteboards on both sides. Should the day ever occur and you are in an Active Shooter situation, this whiteboard will save your life,” the company claims. “This board will reject all pistol, AK47 rifle, AR15 rifle, and AR10 .308 rifle fire from point blank range.”
Why not provide kids with their very own SecPro CVIIIA Concealable BulletProof Vest, listed at $499.99 but now on sale for $289. To round out protective measures, fit each child with a Ballistic PASGT Military Level IIIA Helmet, for just $245.
Students and teachers might benefit from having SecPro Advanced Police Strength OC Pepper Spray with Lighted Ballistic Stream for $24.99.
Home Depot sells the Proshield II — Bulletproof and Ballistic Pink Backpack for $137 and Guard Dog Security markets the trusty “I Do Two” Brass Knuckle Grip Stun Gun with LED Flashlight, on sale for $24.99.