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Arming teachers is the wrong approach

DEAR EDITOR:

Ohio should not be adopting far-right policies that will continue only to add to America’s gun violence.

Last month’s Uvalde, Texas, shootings were a national tragedy, among a long list of similar stories. A gunman was able to legally purchase an assault weapon and release death and destruction on school children. The frequency of these events is disturbing. Equally disturbing has been our reaction. With these events happening on a regular basis, Republican lawmakers seem, at best, desensitized to the issue and, at worst, focused on policies that will only make the problem worse.

Looking back to when I was 15 and getting my temporary driver’s license, I was required to attend class for 24 hours, drive for at least 50 hours (10 hours at night), hold my temporary license for 6 months and pass my driving test with the Ohio BMV. These restrictions are virtually universally accepted as necessary to protect the public from inexperienced drivers; and even after I met all the requirements, it still took me two times to obtain my full driver’s license.

Now, let’s look at 2022. Gov. Mike DeWine just signed a bill that will allow teachers to carry guns in schools with just 24 hours of training. That is significantly less time than I had to spend to obtain my driver’s license. Let’s be clear, this law is dangerous. It will result in more weapons in the hands of people with minimal training, put our children’s lives at greater risk and deteriorate the learning environment. In addition, many experts, say it will not stop the mass shooting issue. The people of Ohio know this; and at the bill’s public hearing, more than 360 people spoke against the bill. About 20 spoke in support of it. The Fraternal Order of Police of Ohio and the Ohio Federation of Teachers, Ohio Education Association opposed the bill and called for its veto. Yet, Gov. DeWine signed it. It is not surprising to know that pro-gun groups have donated $580,000 over the past 10 years to pro-gun Ohio politicians.

Let’s contrast what has been passed with the people’s voice. A 2020 poll found that 60 percent of Ohioans wanted to maintain a licensing system for concealed carry, and the Ohio GOP did the opposite this year. Additionally, 74 percent of Ohioans are in favor of allowing courts to temporarily remove guns from individuals who pose an “extreme risk” to society. Proposals like universal background checks and closing the gun show loophole are extremely popular with all Americans, regardless of political affiliation.

The Ohio GOP should listen to the people and adopt common sense and highly-supported safety measures that will make our children safer in school.

THOMAS SUMMERS

Warren

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