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.