The Ohio chapters of Moms Demand Action and Students Demand Action, both part of Everytown for Gun Safety’s grassroots network, released the following statement after the Ohio House of Representatives today voted to pass OH HB 99, a bill that would allow teachers to bring firearms into learning environments with minimal training from a statewide program. The bill now heads to the Ohio Senate.
“Our lawmakers are putting the interests of the gun lobby ahead of students’ safety,” said Cathi Kulik, a retired teacher and volunteer with the Ohio chapter of Moms Demand Action. “This bill will put students’ lives at risk. We need to be focusing on common sense, evidence based measures that will actually protect students and prevent gun violence in schools, not measures like this bill that will put guns in their classrooms.”
“There’s no question that we need better measures to keep us safe in school, but arming teachers is not the answer. Teachers should not be allowed or expected to act like law enforcement officers — they aren’t one,” said Cordelia Van der Veer, a volunteer with Students Demand Action in Ohio. “We shouldn’t have to grow up in fear of gun violence in our communities, let alone in our classrooms. Our lawmakers should be prioritizing saving lives and protecting us from gun violence, but with today’s vote, they did the opposite.”
Arming teachers does not make children safer — instead, it increases the risk of gun violence in schools by increasing the chances that a teacher’s gun will fall into the wrong hands, or that a gun will discharge unintentionally and injure a student. There have been several incidents of school staff intentionally or unintentionally discharging guns on school grounds across the country. Access to a firearm, irrespective of age, triples the risk of death by suicide and doubles the risk of death by homicide.
More information about the risks of arming teachers is available here. Additional information about gun violence in Ohio is available here.