Should teachers be required to have five times more firearms training than law enforcement to carry in a school?

The Ohio Peace Officer Training Academy (OPOTA) says yes. Simple logic says hell no.

by Chad D. Baus

In the wake of the horrific attack on a Connecticut elementary school in December 2013, many Ohio boards of education finally realized that "no-guns" signs and zero-tolerance policies have utterly failed their promise to protect our children, and were ready to do something different. More than two dozen schools around the state have since elected to exercise their right to authorize employees to carry concealed firearms inside the school.

Ohio's state legislators also seemed ready to act to improve school security, introducing House Bill 8, a place-holder bill that, it was announced, would eventually be amended to contain language intended to enhance school safety. At the time it was introduced, the bill's sponsor, Rep. Kristina Roegner (R), was quoted as saying that "it's a priority for the House, not only in this state but I imagine across the nation, to make sure that our children are safe. So that's what this legislation will do."

Since the time it was introduced one year ago up until very recently, HB 8 has received very little attention. The reason? No one knew for sure what was in it.

Although HB 8 is not considered to be a gun rights bill in the sense that much of the other legislation we follow is, Buckeye Firearms Association is committed to ensuring that the legislature not make it harder for local boards of education to take the steps they believe they need to take to ensure the safety of their students. As such, at various times over the past year, public comments made by various legislators, public officials or interested parties have been cause for concern.

Last April, for example, the Gongwer News Service reported that the state Fraternal Order of Police was pushing to use the bill to strip the right of boards of education to arm staff to protect students altogether.

Then in June, even bill sponsor Rep. Roegner made comments to Ohio NPR's StateImpact that seemed to suggest she was hoping to make it tougher on local boards of education to make these decisions for themselves.

Despite these media reports, however, Buckeye Firearms Association chose to take a "wait and see" approach. Thankfully, the actual wording of the legislation was finally amended into the place-holder bill and passed by the Ohio House 63-29, and we were pleased to see that the bill did not restrict the local control that boards of education currently enjoy.

Indeed, there are several provisions in the bill that show it is intended to maintain, even enhance, local control.

The danger, however, has not passed. The bill must still be taken up by the Ohio Senate. And as recent coverage by The Dayton Daily News shows, pressure remains to restrict the ability boards of education currently enjoy to authorize persons to carry concealed in the school.

Foundation named #1 NRA Recruiter, breaks record

Buckeye Firearms Foundation has been recruiting for the NRA for many years.

In 2011, the Foundation came in 5th place with 569 members. Then with a little more effort in 2012, it came in 3rd place, recruiting 905 members.

But last year, with more attention on the Foundation's activities, including the FASTER school safety program, the Foundation saw NRA recruitment numbers rising, finding itself in 2nd place. So with an end of year push, it drove those numbers up to a record-breaking 1,637.

Here's the official announcement from the NRA:

Ohio House passes bill to address school safety

by Chad D. Baus

On Wednesday, January 22, the Ohio House passed House Bill 8, a bill intended to, among other things, clarify the right of local boards of education to enact safety plans which include the authorization of concealed handgun license-holders, and to specify that those plans may be considered part of the school safety plan and thus not be part of the public record.

From coverage by WBNS (CBS Columbus):

House Bill 8, which passed overwhelmingly out of the House Wednesday, says a school board could pick a school employee to carry a concealed weapon. It would also keep the name of the person carrying the weapon a secret.

"As a parent, I would certainly want to know if my kid's teacher had a gun or not," said Worthington teacher and Vice President of the Ohio Education Association, Scott DiMauro.

DiMauro is against the bill, but the head of the Buckeye Firearms Foundation says hidden guns, in the right hands, are important for school safety.

"There's all sorts of emergency response plans that we, as parents, aren't really privileged to. And that's fine. That's good. What you want to know is that the district has done their due diligence and has adequate safety security plans in place," said Jim Irvine.

Defending Children: Teachers should explore options for effective resistance with the tools available

by Jeff Knox

As the new year dawns, just over a year after the atrocity at Sandy Hook, it's time to look at what's been done since that horror to add to the protection and defense of our children.

First, t’s important to recognize the fact that mass murder attacks on school children are extremely uncommon, and the odds of your or my children, grandchildren, nieces, or nephews being directly involved are incredible small – probably in the neighborhood of 1 in 100 million in any given year – so you're more likely to win the PowerBall and MegaMillions lotteries – simultaneously – than to have a child involved in an attack like Sandy Hook or Columbine. Of course that's no comfort when tragedy does strike, and it's the possibility – regardless of how unlikely – which demands that steps be taken to reduce the odds even further.

It's clear that institutional lethargy, myopia, and political correctness have schools and their administrators virtually incapable of change. In the wake of the worst school massacre in decades, the response of school administrators around the country was to double-down on the same emergency response strategy that failed at Sandy Hook; the Hide and Hope strategy.

Teachers are instructed to close their classroom doors, gather children in a corner, and hold them there until the "lockdown" ends. Unfortunately, that's where the planning ends. There is rarely any planning for what exactly to do if the "bad guy" actually enters the room and starts hurting people.

To the Editor: Schools need armed protectors

Editor's Note: The following letter to the editor of the Columbus Dispatch was published on December 28, 2013 in response to a letter written by Ohio Coalition Against Gun Violence founder Toby Hoover, in which she attempted to dismiss the importance of Buckeye Firearms Association's survey which revealed that dozens of Ohio schools are now authorizing concealed carry for certain people.

In last Saturday's letter, "Arming staff endangers students," Toby Hoover made many incorrect statements leading to the wrong conclusion about school safety. Looking at actual events, we see that an armed response is the only reliable way to stop an active killer.

On Dec. 13, a lone attacker walked into Arapahoe High School in Centennial, Colo., intent on doing harm. He carried a shotgun, 125 rounds of ammunition, a machete and Molotov cocktails.

He intended to kill many people but failed. His lone casualty was 17-year-old senior Claire Davis.

Colorado's new gun-control laws failed to stop the killer from acquiring his gun. The ban on standard-capacity magazines had no effect on the shotgun or bandolier full of shells he wore.

Any steps taken to identify the killer and intervene failed. Controlling the entry point to the school, keeping the killer outside and partitioning off the building failed. Every preventive measure failed.

That is not to say they are not important, but in this particular event, they all failed. The same was true in Sandy Hook Elementary School.

The critical difference between Sandy Hook and Centennial was an armed responder inside the building. This is precisely what security experts have suggested for years.

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