School staff carrying concealed weapons on campus would not be required to complete the same training as police officers, under a bill that won approval in the Ohio Senate on Wednesday.
Senate Bill 317 would exempt school staff from the training requirements, which were applied in a court ruling from a case out of Butler County.
In 2016, state law changed to allow school districts to permit staff to carry weapons. But a ruling in March from the 12th District Court of Appeals determined that those staff members would have to complete 700 hours of basic peace officer training before carrying firearms at school.
Madison Local Schools required employees to take a 27-hour training course offered by FASTER Saves Lives, an affiliate of the Buckeye Firearms Association. In 2018, parents in the district mounted a legal challenge, seeking to block the school district from arming staff without peace officer training or 20 years experience as a police officer.
Senators adopted the bill on a 21-10 vote and sent it to the Ohio House for consideration. It is opposed by groups that favor gun restrictions while it is supported by the Buckeye Firearms Association and National Rifle Association.
In the first session day following the election, lawmakers considered dozens of bills. Legislative leaders said that before the two-year legislative session ends in late December, they hope to pass a capital budget bill, deal with House Bill 6 — the controversial energy bailout law, and consider overhauling K-12 school funding.
Also on Wednesday, the Ohio House voted 72-12 for a bill that would make assaulting a sports official before, during or after a contest a misdemeanor on first offense and a felony for second offense. House Bill 208 stemmed from an August 2019 incident when a Dunbar High School football player head-butted referee Scott Bistrek, giving him a concussion.
The House voted 75-11 for House Bill 621, which would weaken the governor’s broad powers to close businesses during public health emergencies. DeWine said he would veto the measure.
A legislative move by House Democrats to repeal House Bill 6, a controversial energy bailout law, failed when mostly Republican lawmakers voted to table the amendment.
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