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Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Who's Carrying At School Events?

The Ohio Concealed Carry law sets forth places where a license does not allow a person to carry a handgun. Under the law, a person may not carry a concealed handgun into a school safety zone:

 School safety zones

A “school safety zone” includes a school, school building, school premises, school activity, and school bus. For purposes of this statute, a school includes everything up to the property boundary.
The law generally forbids the carrying of a handgun in a school safety zone unless all of the following apply:

• You do not enter a school building, premises or activity; and

• You have a concealed carry license or temporary emergency license; and

• You are not otherwise in one of the forbidden places listed above and detailed in R.C. 2923.126 (B); or

You are a driver or passenger in a motor vehicle immediately in the process of picking up or dropping off a child, and you are not otherwise in violation of the laws governing transportation
of firearms in motor vehicles.

But ...

According to Ohio Revised Code 2923.122 (Illegal conveyance or possession of deadly weapon or dangerous ordnance or of object indistinguishable from firearm in school safety zone.) This section does not apply to any of the following:

(a) An officer, agent, or employee of this or any other state or the United States, or a law enforcement officer, who is authorized to carry deadly weapons or dangerous ordnance and is acting within the scope of the officer's, agent's, or employee's duties, a security officer employed by a board of education or governing body of a school during the time that the security officer is on duty pursuant to that contract of employment, or any other person who has written authorization from the board of education or governing body of a school to convey deadly weapons or dangerous ordnance into a school safety zone or to possess a deadly weapon or dangerous ordnance in a school safety zone and who conveys or possesses the deadly weapon or dangerous ordnance in accordance with that authorization;

(b) Any person who is employed in this state, who is authorized to carry deadly weapons or dangerous ordnance, and who is subject to and in compliance with the requirements of section 109.891 of the Revised Code, unless the appointing authority of the person has expressly specified that the exemption provided in division (D)(1)(b) of this section does not apply to the person.

(2) Division (C) of this section does not apply to premises upon which home schooling is conducted. Division (C) of this section also does not apply to a school administrator, teacher, or employee who possesses an object that is indistinguishable from a firearm for legitimate school purposes during the course of employment, a student who uses an object that is indistinguishable from a firearm under the direction of a school administrator, teacher, or employee, or any other person who with the express prior approval of a school administrator possesses an object that is indistinguishable from a firearm for a legitimate purpose, including the use of the object in a ceremonial activity, a play, reenactment, or other dramatic presentation, or a ROTC activity or another similar use of the object.

I have heard that many people with permits conceal weapons on school grounds in violation of the law. Without permission from a local board of education, Ohio residents cannot conceal their weapons on their school's premises during any activity of that school. This would mean visiting crowds at athletic events or at any other of that school's many functions cannot carry even though they may be given such permission from their home school.

With the intense focus on school security and the lobby for teacher conceal and carry, I don't understand how home schools will control legal carriers from other schools such as coaches, bus drivers, and those who have been security approved to conceal and carry.

In fact, it is very disconcerting that obvious illegal carry into school safety zones is happening because Ohio grants such a legal license. These people are in violation of the law and pose a direct threat to children and others at school. This is the type of liberty that imposes on the safety of those who abide by the laws of school safety zones.

Gun advocates will argue until they are blue in the face for their right to conceal and carry as long as they have a valid permit. They feel, as vigilantes or as "special deputies," they have obligations to protect themselves and/or others with their firearm in a designated area that bans them from doing so. To me, this is a problem that should be addressed before unnecessary, deadly violence occurs.

I taught for decades, and I know parents can't hide the obvious from their parents. I'm sure many are aware that their parents now carry firearms onto a school safety zone. These people live by the "castle doctrine" philosophy (legal in Ohio) and, in error, extend that right to "stand your ground" (illegal in Ohio) wherever they go.

But ...

A bill in Ohio (HB 203) proposes a change to the "stand your ground" provision for self-defense. The Ohio bill's sponsor, Republican Representative Terry Johnson, said the measure could save lives. "Someone attacked by a criminal should not face a prosecutor," he said. The proposal would also shorten hours of training for a concealed-carry permit. Currently, someone who applies for a concealed-carry permit needs 10 of hours classroom training and two hours on the range. The proposal being debated would only require four total hours of training.

Currently, in Ohio, an individual may claim self defense if that person can prove several elements. This bill removes one of these elements, specifically the requirement that a defendant prove that he or she attempted to retreat if that person felt endangered while in public.  

Many believe such laws are unnecessary because Ohio does have the common law right of self-defense. 

In states where there are currently “stand your ground” laws, research shows that 36 percent of shootings are ruled justifiable when the shooter is white and the victim is black. However, when the shooter is black and the victim is white, those cases are deemed to be justifiable less than 1% of the time.

Is anywhere other than the already covered government facilities worthy of strict no-gun protection? I believe our public schools should have such protection and begin by enacting whatever measures necessary to keep guns off campus and out of gun advocates' hands.

I'm sure without checks at entry points, concealed guns are already plentiful at school events. I understand many want to make a school zone a legal carry area. Some advocates for "safety" actually want to do away with school safety zones saying things like "such signs that inform the public merely invite the criminal element and school shooters."

My son graduated from the Ohio State Patrol Academy, and I know what a rigorous, complicated course of study and practical applications he went through there. These people are trained in every aspect of gun use under every possible circumstance. Asking teachers to handle weapons in deadly situations -- teachers without experience and without extended, strenuous training -- is asking for trouble. Killing intruders is not taught in education classes. Also, greater financial costs with liability insurance can be expected, and many other alternatives to changing physical plants and to using lethal weapons exist. 

 "Political power grows out of the barrel of a gun."

- Mao Tse-Tung

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