Concealed Carry, Guns In Schools: Two Major Gun Bills Win Approval In Ohio House!


The Ohio House voted Wednesday in favor of bills that would allow teachers with 20 hours of training to carry firearms on K-12 campuses and that would wipe out a required eight-hour class for Ohioans to carry hidden guns into public places.

House Bill 99, which would address armed teacher training, passed on a 58-33 vote.

House Bill 227, which would allow Ohio adults to carry concealed firearms without taking a currently required class, passed on a 60-32 vote.

Both bills now move to the Ohio Senate for consideration.

Reducing training hours for armed teachers

Ohio, like a dozen other states, allows school districts to decide whether staff can carry firearms. But the law also requires those teachers, custodians and bus drivers to complete peace officer training (about 728 hours) if they are going to be armed at school. 

HB 99 would drop that down to 18 hours of general training and two hours of handgun training. Schools could require additional hours, but those 20 combined hours would be the minimum. 

Rep. Thomas Hall, R-Middletown, told the story about how his father was the school resource officer at Madison High School in Butler County in 2016 when shots rang out. His father chased the 14-year old shooter out of the building. Hall sponsored the bill, saying requiring school staff to complete more than 700 hours of police training isn’t realistic

Rep. Haraz Ghanbari, R-Perrysburg, noted that no community has the money to put school resources officers into schools. The bill sets a minimum, not a maximum, for training for school employees carrying firearms, he said.

But the Fraternal Order of Police of Ohio believes HB 99 set the bar far too low at 20 hours of training. 

“It’s not enough training,” FOP Ohio governmental affairs director Mike Weinman said. “We go through hundreds of hours of training and a lot of that is on how not to use our weapons.”

Democratic Rep. David Leland unsuccessfully tried to remove the 20-hour requirement and replace it with language that directs Ohio Peace Officers’ Commission to create a teacher training program. 

“These people have been doing this since 1965. This is what they are paid to do. They have the expertise to do this …,” said Leland, D-Columbus. “I feel comfortable that they will come up with a program that protects the children of Ohio.”

Rep. Stephanie Howse, D-Cleveland, said Black students feel criminalized and aren’t comfortable entering classrooms with armed teachers.

Ohio Federation of Teachers President Melissa Cropper said she will ask Gov. Mike DeWine to veto the bill if it passes in the state Senate.

No license required to carry a concealed weapon

Ohioans who wanted to carry a concealed weapon wouldn’t be required to pass an eight-hour course or a background check under HB 227. 

Known as “constitutional carry or “permitless carry,” the bill would let any resident who is 21 years or older carry their weapon inside their jacket as it is legally owned. It would also remove the requirement that people carrying concealed weapons notify police when stopped. 

Rep. Tom Brinkman, R-Cincinnati, who has pushed for a permitless carry program for decades, noted that gun owners who want to carry concealed weapons across state lines would still need an Ohio concealed handgun license. Ohio has reciprocity agreements with 39 other states.

Current law allows people to carry a firearm openly.

“There is no state mandate for training, there is no state mandate for licensing, and we certainly do not have a problem with these open carriers accidentally shooting people or becoming vigilante justice administrators,” Brinkman has said.

Brinkman said the only required reading on the bill is the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

Rep. Bride Rose Sweeney, D-Cleveland, said the current requirements for concealed carry are the bare minimum and not overly burdensome. 

Between 2011 and 2020, Ohio sheriffs issued 757,000 concealed carry permits.

Weinman said the FOP opposes this bill too – especially because it removes the requirement to tell an officer you’re carrying a gun. 

“Now you have a scenario where you walk up to a car where a guy doesn’t tell you and this guy shifts in his seat and you see his gun, it makes the dynamics of the traffic stop that much different,” said Weinman, who was shot and paralyzed in the line of duty in 1998.

Anna Staver and Laura Bischoff are reporters with the USA TODAY Network Ohio Bureau. It serves the Columbus Dispatch, Cincinnati Enquirer, Akron Beacon Journal and 18 other affiliated news organizations across Ohio.