(NEW YORK) — After a string of mass shootings, including a school shooting that left 19 children and two teachers dead in Texas, Americans across the country are calling for action.
On both sides of the aisle, lawmakers are debating on which measures are needed to reform gun laws in the United States. A majority of Democrats are calling for stricter measures, while GOP lawmakers are working to ensure that the Second Amendment is upheld.
Lawmakers in Ohio passed a bill June 1 that would allow teachers and school staff to arm themselves with weapons inside schools with minimal training. The bill aims to lower the amount of training required for teachers to carry guns inside schools by decreasing the mandatory 150 training hours to less than 30 hours of training. The bill also created a training team to partner with schools to improve school safety.
Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine is expected to sign the legislation.
“Last week I called on the General Assembly to pass a bill that would allow local school districts, if they so chose, to designate armed staff for school security and safety. My office worked with the General Assembly to remove hundreds of hours of curriculum irrelevant to school safety and to ensure training requirements were specific to a school environment and contained significant scenario-based training. House Bill 99 accomplishes these goals, and I thank the General Assembly for passing this bill to protect Ohio children and teachers. I look forward to signing this important legislation,” DeWine said in a statement to ABC News.
Ohio Democratic state Sen. Teresa Fedor spoke to ABC News Live on June 3. She opposes the bill and wrote a letter to DeWine, a Republican, urging him to veto it.
“By placing this arbitrary limit on instruction today, the state cannot guarantee that the individuals allowed to be armed in our schools will be properly trained,” read the letter.
Fedor was not alone in her opposition. She said that more than 350 people, including members of law enforcement, testified in opposition.
“[Law enforcement] said it will cause harmful accidents and potentially even needless deaths. It’s going to make it harder for them to respond to a mass shooting when they don’t know who’s carrying a gun,” said Fedor. “I’m a veteran classroom teacher of 18 years, been a legislator for 22 years, I have never seen a bill so poorly written [and] hurdled through the process.”
A conservative response often presented regarding mass shootings is to increase the number of “good guys with guns.”
“The only way to stop a bad guy with a gun is with a good guy with a gun,” said Wayne LaPierre, the CEO of the National Rifle Association.
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer announced May 25 that he would give a group of bipartisan senators one week to make an agreement on some gun control proposals. Universal background checks and a national Red Flag Law are among a few popular measures the group is considering.
Nick Suplina, senior vice president for law and police at Everytown for Gun Violence, spoke to ABC News Live about the potential impact of these measures.
“The laws that you’re talking about are foundational laws. Background checks are like having a boat where the bottom doesn’t have holes in it,” said Suplina. “Both [background checks and Red Flag Laws] provisions are really effective, foundational gun violence prevention policies.”
According to a recent poll conducted by the Morning Consult/Politico, 89% of Americans support universal background checks and 86% of Americans support a national Red Flag Law.
Suplina said that putting measures in place is only half the battle. He says there has to be proper implementation of the law in order to save lives. For example, the gunman in the Buffalo supermarket mass shooting carried out an attack despite New York having some of the toughest gun laws in the nation.
“The New York Red Flag Law could have, arguably should have, prevented that shooting and it wasn’t a failure of the law, but a failure of implementation… That gunman made threats against his school, was visited by law enforcement and even had a mental health assessment. That would have been the perfect time for intervention with a Red Flag Law,” Suplina said.
Nineteen states and the District of Columbia currently have some form of Red Flag Laws in place, according to Ballotpedia.
Fedor said that she is a supporter of the Second Amendment, but that doesn’t mean gun reform isn’t possible.
“I do support the Second Amendment. It says a well-regulated militia; well-regulated means rules to keep people safe,” she said.
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