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Ohio Enacts Batshit Crazy Law Arming Teachers in the Classroom

Ohio Enacts Batshit Crazy Law Arming Teachers in the Classroom

As you’ve probably noticed by now, Republicans are extremely loathe to do anything about the mass-shooting problem in America, but they are very gung ho about offering ridiculous “solutions” that fail to address the actual issue. Lately, that’s included a lot of talk about building schools with only one door, the need for more God, demonizing marijuana, “addressing the culture of fatherlessness,” and designing schools with “man traps” and “trip wire[s].” One of the GOP’s longtime favorites, though, is arming teachers—who apparently don’t have enough to do—and hoping they’ll foil any would-be mass murderers. And on Monday, Ohio moved to make that conservative fantasy a reality.

Yes, thanks to a new law signed by Governor Mike DeWine, school districts could have armed art, history, and math teachers starting this fall. Worried about teachers actually knowing how to use such weapons, or the possibility of things going wrong? Fear not: While the Ohio Supreme Court ruled last year that school staff would have to have undergone roughly 728 hours of training or have 20 years of experience to carry a firearm on school grounds, the legislation was reportedly fast-tracked to counter that ruling, so that your kid‘s homeroom teacher will only need to complete 24 hours of training before bringing a gun into the classroom.

The new law “is giving schools an option, based on their particular circumstances, to make the best decision they can make with the best information they have,” DeWine said on Monday, adding that he would prefer armed school resource officers to armed teachers but that he is simply providing districts with another option that will (supposedly) protect kids. As the Associated Press notes, “the measure is opposed by major law enforcement groups, gun control advocates, and the state’s teachers unions.”

Not surprisingly, a number of Democratic Ohio mayors panned the law on Monday, and criticized Republican lawmakers for failing to pass meaningful gun control legislation instead, like universal background checks, raising the age at which one can purchase a gun from 18 to 21, red flag laws, and a ban on assault rifles—like the kind used to kill 19 students and two teachers in Uvalde, Texas, last month. “All of these things are common sense,” Toledo mayor Wade Kapszukiewicz said Monday. “We’re in a situation where we can’t pass legislation that 95% of our citizens support.” Former Dayton mayor Nan Whaley, who is running against DeWine for governor, blasted the law, saying DeWine had turned his back on the pledge he made to address gun violence after nine people were killed in a 2019 shooting in Dayton. “The politics got hard and Mike DeWine folded,” Whaley said. “Nine people in Dayton was worth the political risk.”

Over the weekend, a group of 10 Republican senators and 10 Democrats announced that they had reached a deal for a package of gun-safety measures that includes red flag laws, mental health investments, and an “enhanced review process for buyers under 21.” It does not raise the minimum age for purchase, expand background checks for all firearm sales, or ban military-style assault weapons.

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