Ohio Senate Passes SB 317 to Allow Armed School Staff

Senate Bill 317, which corrects an erroneous decision made by a southwest Ohio court that put in doubt programs in schools that allow teachers and staff to be armed, has passed the Ohio Senate by a vote of 21-11.

Senator Bill Coley (R-4) introduced SB 317, after the 12th District Court of Appeals ruled that people armed in schools must complete more than 700 hours of peace officer training, most of which is irrelevant to stopping active killers.

The court's decision was in reaction to a lawsuit financed by Mike Bloomberg's Everytown for Gun Safety. A group of parents supported by the anti-gun group sued to stop a safety program approved by the Madison Local School District in Butler County which permitted staff to be armed upon completion of training such as FASTER Saves Lives.

The appeals court ruling is in direct opposition to the Ohio Revised Code which permits the program approved by the Madison Local School District. Former Attorney General and now Governor Mike DeWine, and current Attorney General Dave Yost, have also issued guidance supporting existing law that allowed Madison to enact the school safety program.

While the appeals court decision is now pending review by the Ohio Supreme Court, Senator Coley agreed with Buckeye Firearms Association's position that the legislature should further clarify its intent that school districts have the authority to permit staff to be armed and permitting them to set the standards that allow this to happen. Senator Coley's Senate Bill 317 makes the question crystal clear and would allow the Madison program, and those in schools all over Ohio, to remain in place.

Buckeye Firearms Association has testified in support of this bill. And our Foundation has been involved from the beginning of the lawsuit and filed an Amicus brief in support of Madison school district's program.

"It is a fact that the faster people react to an armed killer situation, the more lives are saved," explained Dean Rieck, BFA Executive Director. "Requiring teachers to be trained both as police officers and educators, simply means no one would be armed in school to defend our kids other than a school resource officer, who may or may not be in the right place to end a threat before many lives are lost. Senator Coley's bill will save lives and should be passed by the Ohio House as soon as possible. We thank President Obhof and Ohio Senators for correcting this terrible court decision."

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