After elementary school massacre by gunman, Ohio GOP lawmakers talk of boosting school safety
People who want to carry concealed weapons won’t need permits after June 13, when a law signed earlier this year takes effect.
But after the massacre by an armed gunman at an elementary school in Texas, there are no signs that any new restrictions on guns could be coming from the Republican-dominated legislature – with the entire House and half the Senate on this fall’s ballot.
When asked what he thinks Ohio should be doing after 19 children and two teachers were gunned down in a Texas elementary school, Senate President Matt Huffman (R-Lima) said he doesn’t think the new permitless conceal carry law is an issue here.
"This awful thing that happened had nothing to do with carrying a concealed weapon. This is an 18 year old with a rifle that he wasn't concealing from anybody. I don't think one is related to the other." Huffman said. "The state of Ohio government needs to get involved in school safety."
Huffman said the Senate may soon take up the bill to allow teachers to be armed in schools, though Huffman said "the training needs to be more significant than what the House Bill 99 has indicated". That bill allows for a minimum of eight hours of training.
"I think the one thing that parents or any not just parents anybody wants is to make sure that if that ever happens, there's some ability for children to be protected," Huffman said. "And the key to that is the appropriate training."
House Speaker Bob Cupp (R-Lima) said he’s focused on the site of the shooting too.
“We are constantly looking for ways in which we can strengthen the security of our schoolchildren. This is obviously a terrible tragedy," Cupp said.
"We've passed legislation, allow us strengthen the security in the school buildings. So we're constantly looking for ways in which we can do that," Cupp said. "Now, this happened in Texas. It didn't happen in Ohio. Not sure, you know, what their laws are, what their security setup is, but obviously safety of children is foremost in our mind."
Cupp also said lawmakers have funded more mental health services and added $11 million in the budget for coordination of health care.
But there’s been no talk of moving any of the 15 bills on gun restrictions proposed by Democrats. They include required universal background checks, raising the minimum firearm purchase age to 21, creating so-called "red flag" laws allowing courts to confiscate weapons from potentially dangerous people, and repealing the permitless carry law and the "Stand Your Ground" law, both signed earlier this year.