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 Senate today voted to pass OH SB 168, a bill that would help arm teachers, and allow them to bring firearms into learning environments with minimal training. The bill now heads to the Ohio House of Representatives.
“We’re facing a gun violence crisis, allowing teachers with minimal training to carry a gun in the classroom is dangerous, ineffective, and will only increase the risk of gun violence at school,” said Cordelia Van der Veer, a volunteer with Students Demand Action in Ohio. “Teachers aren’t law enforcement officers and they should not be required or asked to act like one. Our lawmakers should be prioritizing saving lives, protecting us from gun violence, and taking real action to address school gun violence. 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.
This week, the Ohio House Government Oversight and Reform Committee also held multiple hearings on OH SB 215, harmful permitless carry legislation that would eliminate Ohio’s concealed carry handgun license requirement – a policy shown to increase gun violence in other states and broadly opposed by law enforcement, including law enforcement across Ohio. Moms Demand Action and Students Demand Action volunteers, public safety experts and community leaders, including the Ohio Mayors Alliance, the Fraternal Order of Police of Ohio, and Hamilton County Sheriff Charmaine McGuffey, have all provided testimony in opposition of permitless carry throughout the legislative process.
Everytown’s interactive gun law platform — which shows the direct correlation between the strength of a state’s gun laws and its rate of gun deaths — is available here. The tool shows that Ohio scores 18 out of 100 for gun law strength. More information about the risks of arming teachers is available here. More information about permitless carry is available here. Additional information about gun violence in Ohio is available here.