Rep. Allison Russo (D-Upper Arlington) today voted in opposition to two bills opponents say would make schools and communities less safe and fail to address gun violence in Ohio. House Bill (HB) 99 would allow school districts to arm teachers in the classroom without adequate training or safe storage requirements, while HB 227 would eliminate concealed weapon training and safety standards, including penalties for failing to notify police of a concealed weapon during a stop.
“The Republican supermajority seems hellbent on putting the health and safety of more Ohioans in grave danger. These are incredibly reckless, irresponsible, dangerous pieces of legislation that put our communities at even greater risk than before,” said Rep. Russo. “When Ohioans said they wanted their elected officials to address gun violence, they didn’t mean pass extreme bills that endanger the lives of our children, families, and law enforcement officers while increasing the likelihood of shootings. An individual’s right to a firearm does not absolve them of responsibility. In fact, the vast majority of responsible gun owners support adequate training, safety standards, and keeping firearms out of the hands of dangerous individuals. Gutting training and safety standards and promoting inadequately trained and armed teachers in our classrooms—that’s not responsibility. That’s idiocy.”
Teachers and law enforcement are opposed to bringing more guns into schools. A 2018 survey found that 80% of teachers were “strongly opposed” to having armed faculty in schools. Ohio’s Fraternal Order of Police noted that the minimal training required by HB 99 is significantly less than the hundreds of hours of training required for police officers. Democrats expressed similar concerns that HB 99 only requires 20 hours of training for armed teachers during committee hearings.
Gun violence rates in Ohio surged in 2020, with 25 mass shootings recorded, up from 14 the year before. Emerging data shows that states that have passed permitless carry legislation are experiencing a substantial increase in gun violence.
After passing the House, both bills move to the Senate for consideration.