NewsOhio News


Ohio Democrats debate HB 99, call for additional training for school employees who carry guns

Classroom generic
Posted at 11:02 AM, Apr 20, 2021
and last updated 2021-04-20 11:02:07-04

COLUMBUS, Ohio — Right now Ohio teachers can carry firearms on school grounds with certain training requirements, according to Ohio law. But now the debate is over how much training is enough.

On Monday, during a virtual press conference, Ohio Democrats made renewed calls to pass what they described as common-sense gun laws. During the conference, House Bill 99 was addressed by Rep. David Leland (D-Columbus).

House Bill 99 is a measure that would clarify a law currently being argued within the Ohio Supreme Court. It gives Ohio school districts the option to lower required training hours for school staff who want to carry firearms to as little as eight hours.

But Ohio Democrats said lowering the required training hours would put student safety in jeopardy.

"Clearly, we must do more to protect the children of our state," said Leland.

Leland said there were three issues with the current House Bill 99: insufficient training, no notification requirement and safe storage.

The Rep. said more than eight hours of training is necessary for those who can carry on school grounds. Under the measure, parents would not have to be notified of who is carrying a weapon on campus and he's calling for more provisions on safe storage.

"We know guns are going to be found on restrooms, in lunchrooms, in in in playgrounds. There needs to be provisions for this bill for safe storage," he said.

Last week, more than 130 people submitted written testimony opposing the bill. Some of the written testimonies included the Ohio Fraternal Order of Police, Other gun advocates and teachers.

Last month when News 5 covered the bill's progress, Republican co-sponsor of HB 99, Rep. Reggie Stoltzfus, District 50 (R), told us he's trying to give Ohio school districts a place to start and more control. And if they set the minimum hours of training at eight, schools can work up from that minimum if they feel it's necessary.

But Ohio Democrats disagree.

"We as democrats have a priority of making sure that we will do everything we can to keep our kids as safe as possible," he said.

During the press conference, Leland said he has had contact with the sponsor of the bill who has agreed to sit down and compromise before moving forward.