Local school leaders react to the new Ohio gun law

Pictured is an existing warning sign outside of New Richmond High School.

By Megan Alley

Sun staff

A new Ohio gun law that took effect on March 21 allows anyone with a concealed carry license to carry a gun in more places, including school zones and daycare centers.

Pictured is an existing warning sign outside of New Richmond High School.

“School safety is always our number one priority, and we always take every step to keep our students safe while also being in compliance with the law,” Goshen Local School District Superintendent Darrell Edwards said in an email.

“The change in law will necessitate that all schools make small changes in Board of Education policy,” he added.

“Specifically in regards to the bill authorizing an individual to possess a concealed handgun in a school safety zone as long as the individual either remains in a motor vehicle with the gun or leaves the gun behind in the locked vehicle if the individual has an active concealed-carry permit or is an active-duty member of the armed forces who is carrying a valid military identification card and documentation of successful completion of firearms training. The old law required that they would have to remain in the vehicle.”

“School safety is always a priority for parents, and questions are frequently asked about a myriad of issues, but we haven’t had anyone express concern regarding this change in law,” Edwards said.

Other superintendents had a similar perspective on the new law.

Milford Exempted Village School District Superintendent Nancy House said in an email, “There has been no
reaction [from parents] at all.”

“We have communicated the changes to our building administrators who have a collaborative relationship with our School Resource Officers,” she added. “Officials from the school district will continue to work collaboratively with local law enforcement to ensure the safety or students and staff.”

Batavia Local School District Superintendent Keith Millard said administrators are currently updating policies to reflect the changes in the law. He also noted that district officials, “continue our commitment to provide a safe and secure learning environment for all students and staff members.”

New Richmond Exempted Village School District Superintendent Adam Bird said in an email that, “as long as individuals with a Conceal Carry Permit keep their firearm locked up in their vehicle while on school property as the new law requires, I do not have a problem with it.”

Superintendents from Bethel-Tate Local Schools, Williamsburg Local Schools, West Clermont Local Schools and Felicity-Franklin Local School District were also contacted, via email, for this article.

However, they did not respond by time of publication.

The law also allows concealed carry weapon permit holders to carry a gun on college campuses, private planes and in airports and some government buildings, and prohibits employers from telling staff that they can’t store their guns or bullets in their cars while at work.

Senators Joe Uecker and Randy Gardner shepherded State Bill 199 through the state legislature.

On Dec. 19, 2016, Governor John Kasich signed it into law.