Home Education Updated firearms law details security practices that take aim at school intruders

Updated firearms law details security practices that take aim at school intruders

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A bill that establishes a more cut-and-dry codification of who can carry and utilize firearms in Ohio’s schools with general impunity has cleared the House.

HB 8, which has been characterized as a clarification of existing law, will now face Senate deliberation as legislators seek to expand the existing group of individuals that are permitted to possess a deadly weapon in a designated school safety zone.

Included in the most-recently updated cabal of people allowed to carry firearms are off-duty peace officers, school employees appointed by the Board of Education and regularly commissioned police personnel.

The amended sections of the bill also stipulate an exclusion of collective-bargaining protocol in order to maintain the anonymity of those employees carrying a weapon, as well as free employees from any sort of civil liability that may arise from the use of a firearm, provided that they are acting within the bounds of reason.

Jim Irvine, chairman of the grass-roots campaign Buckeye Firearms Association, stressed that although this legislation won’t provide for a wealth of change in the already-ongoing concealed-carry in schools debate, it will help eliminate some of the ambiguity that certain districts are dealing with in ascertaining exactly who can take their guns to school, and who can’t.

But for Irvine, the process of ensuring safe schools is a multifaceted one; it requires rigorous overlapping in the sectors of active-shooter training education, security and implementation of protective firearms.

“I don’t want to say that it’s the best option (with respect to gun implementation in schools), but it’s kind of like asking what the best ingredient to make bread with is,” Irvine said. “You’ve got to have flour, you’ve got to have yeast and you’ve got to have water. If you take any of the ingredients out, you don’t have bread anymore…It’s a vitally critical layer to safety and security, but it’s not the only one.”

Irvine also spoke of the long-standing successes of active-shooter programs, such as the ALICE training institute, that work to educate each member of the faculty on what to do in the event of a hostile situation.

“I would say that the mental aspect is more important than the gun,” Irvine said. “Someone who’s got the mental wherewithal can win a fight, even without the gun.”

 

“And we don’t need HB 8 to do the training, because we’ve already been doing most of these things in schools already,” he said.

Despite disagreements from the left, who would rather see increased funding in mental-health programs and the implementation of armed security in schools instead, Irvine said everyone is striving toward the same ultimate end.

“Ultimately,” Irvine said, “all everyone wants out of this is for the kids to be safe.”

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