Ohio Fights Back

Gov. Mike DeWine Signs Armed Teacher Bill

Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine recently signed legislation authorizing Buckeye State
school districts to allow volunteer staff to take special training, allowing them
to have firearms on campus.

By now, Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine has probably gotten some very nasty notes and messages from the gun prohibition lobby for signing legislation last month that allows Buckeye State school districts to allow volunteer teachers, principals and school staff to be armed on campus.

The decision came at least partly in reaction to the Robb Elementary school tragedy in Uvalde, Texas. The legislation was being worked long before that outrage, but in the aftermath, it seems Ohio lawmakers and DeWine evidently decided it is time to take a new tack on school safety.

According to the Columbus Dispatch, this new legislation reduces the required training hours from “about 700 hours to four scenario-based training hours, plus a maximum of 20 hours for first-aid training, history of school shootings and reunification education.” We’re not sure about how the latter is defined or what it encompasses, but the part about training is intriguing.

The newspaper said DeWine “directed the Ohio School Safety Center to require at least 24 hours of training and eight hours of requalification training each year.” While some people will insist they don’t want their children attending school where there are guns present, they also don’t want some evil miscreant entering a building and opening fire unopposed. There’s no happy medium.

Earlier in the year, DeWine signed a “constitutional carry” bill allowing concealed carry without a permit. You guessed it — opponents were predicting an end to civilization, as we know it. Sure wish they would change their arguments because that’s the same thing they were saying years ago when states began adopting concealed carry laws where permits would be required.

There are schools around the country, which already allow armed teachers and/or administrators. To my knowledge, no school with armed staff has been the scene of a mass shooting. Maybe signs posted outside some of these schools warning would-be predators that staff is armed and capable of fighting back have had the proper impact.

Jim Irvine has given annual reports on the progress of the FASTER Saves Lives project.

FASTER Makes Safer

Several years ago, at a Gun Rights Policy Conference, Ohio’s Jim Irvine introduced the audience to a program originated in that state called “FASTER Saves Lives.”

FASTER stands for “Faculty & Administrator Safety Training and Emergency Response.” The program is the result of a cooperative effort involving parents, law enforcement and nationally-recognized safety and medical experts, according to the group’s website.

The program provides more than 26 hours of hands-on training, the website says. This occurs over a three-day period, and the group says the curriculum “exceeds the requirements of the Ohio Peace Officer Training Academy.”

Irvine has since become something of a staple at the Gun Rights conferences, providing updates to the project and encouraging more people to get involved.

According to the FASTER website, “The purpose is not to replace police and EMT, but to allow teachers, administrators, and other personnel on-site to stop school violence rapidly and render medical aid immediately,”

Translation: Teachers and/or administrators become emergency first responders. This may be where the observation originated: “When seconds count, police are minutes away.” As noted on the FASTER page, “When violence strikes and students’ lives are on the line, every second matters. Faster response is better response.”

By no surprise, some people do not like Ohio’s new statute. The Dispatch quoted some of them in a separate report on the new legislation.

“This is not what the people asked for, and I’ve got receipts from moms, dads, people in my community, kids,” Rep. Juanita Brent, D-Cleveland, said. “They’re not asking for no guns. They’re asking for background checks.”

Apparently, Brent isn’t aware the Uvalde killer passed a background check. Likewise, the suspect in the Buffalo, N.Y. supermarket attack also passed a background check. The FASTER program is designed to address this problem. Just because someone passes a background check is no guarantee he/she isn’t planning a violent attack.

Now Is The Time

Schools are out for the summer, but school boards around the country can still hold meetings and discuss this program. Maybe this is a good time for a community activist to send a note to the local school superintendent and board members to at least give FASTER a look.

Other school districts may be reconsidering decisions to eliminate “school resource officer” programs that were demonized during the coronavirus and post-George Floyd periods.

It’s time to put aside the arguments that teachers should concentrate on teaching and keep guns out of the classroom. Certainly, a teacher’s job is to teach, but it is difficult to do that when some nut invades the building with intent to do harm.

As much as this may alarm the hoplophobes (a term coined by the late Jeff Cooper that applies to someone with “an irrational fear of weapons, generally guns, usually occurring as a result of a liberal upbringing,” according to the Urban Dictionary), but so what?

Grassroots gun owners often tell their opponents, “We’ve tried it your way. It hasn’t worked. Let’s try something else.

New data from the Washington Department of Licensing revealed more than 7,000 new concealed pistol licenses were issued during May, a stunning number.

Packing Heavier in WA

For almost two years, the number of active concealed pistol licenses in Washington State steadily declined as a result of a months-long “suspension” of the application process by local police agencies due to the COVID-19 outbreak.

There is no provision in state law allowing such a suspension.

When agencies began opening back up, the recovery process was just as gradual, at least until May of this year. I get monthly reports from the state department of licensing, and the number of active CPLs didn’t just jump, it erupted.

May saw just over 7,000 additional CPLs on the monthly report, bringing the total to 644,417 (up from the 637,354 posted at the end of April). That many licenses issued in a single month is an eyebrow-raiser almost anywhere, but in the politically blue state of Washington, it probably caused cardiac tremors among the members of the Seattle-based and billionaire-backed Alliance for Gun Responsibility, a gun prohibition lobbying group.

This may surprise some readers — Washington has the highest number of active resident CPLs of any state in the West, outside of Texas. Utah, which boasts more than 713,000 active carry permits, ctually credits more than 427,500 of those to non-residents. The Utah carry license is widely valued because of its reciprocity/recognition status.

I live in Washington, and whatever else the state happens to be, it can go maverick almost in a heartbeat. Apparently, even liberals want to go armed, considering the spike in violent crime in Seattle, Tacoma and other cities with liberal municipal governments.

By no surprise, King County — encompassing Seattle — added 1,210 more CPLs during the month, and neighboring Pierce County — encompassing Tacoma — added 2,499 licenses.

Subscribe To GUNS Magazine