Rep. Mary Lightbody (D-Westerville) 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, safety standards, and penalties for failing to notify police of a concealed weapon during a stop.
“Bills such as HB 99 and HB 227 make me pause to consider the unintended consequences of broadening access to guns in classrooms and in the community. I do support and respect the right for Ohioans to bear arms responsibly, but I also believe we need sensible measures to keep children, families, and communities safe and to reduce the incidence of deadly violence,” said Rep. Lightbody. “As an educator, I would not have felt safe in the classroom if myself or my fellow teachers were armed, and I think that HB 99 will not make our students safer in their classrooms.”
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.