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 Ohio lawmakers today voted to pass OH HB 99, a dangerous bill that would allow teachers to bring firearms into learning environments with minimal training from a statewide program, out of the Ohio House Criminal Justice Committee. The bill now heads to the House floor for a vote.
“Putting guns in the hands of teachers with minimal safety training is flat-out dangerous, ineffective, and will put students’ lives at risk,” said Cathi Kulik, a retired teacher and volunteer with the Ohio chapter of Moms Demand Action. “It is frustrating and disheartening that our lawmakers continue to prioritize extreme measures, like arming teachers, rather than listen to their constituents and focus on measures proven to end gun violence. Lawmakers in the House should reject this dangerous bill.”
“Students already live in fear of gun violence in our communities but that fear would only be made worse if our teachers are carrying guns in the classroom. Teachers aren’t law enforcement officers, and they should not be allowed or expected to act like one,” said Amira Khoury, a volunteer with Students Demand Action in Ohio. “This bill will not keep us safe, it will only serve to increase the dangers we already face. We need evidence-based measures to address gun violence in schools and in our communities.”
Research shows that arming teachers does not make children safer; in fact, 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. Ohio already has some of the weakest gun laws in the country, and allowing teachers to carry firearms in classrooms would put Ohio’s students in danger.
Firearms are the leading cause of death among children and teens in Ohio. Black children and teens in Ohio are 5 times more likely than their white peers to die by guns. In an average year, 1,529 people die and 3,552 people are wounded by guns in Ohio. Gun violence costs Ohio $10.9 billion each year, of which $486.5 million is paid by taxpayers.
More information about the risks of arming teachers is available here. Additional information about gun violence in Ohio is available here.