In the aftermath of the horrific Parkland, Florida, school shooting on Valentine’s Day, Butler County Sheriff Richard Jones decided to offer Ohio teachers in his area free firearms training leading to a concealed carry license. He expected a modest response from educators, which would comport with conventional wisdom.
Instead, hundreds of teachers signed up for the course, which began training its first group (which also includes non-teaching staff) today. Butler County is located between Cincinnati and Dayton. The sheriff apparently expects about 100 teachers and staffers to be qualified by the end of this week.
Sheriff Jones noted that there was a school shooting in his jurisdiction last year. As a grandfather with grandkids in the local school system, he decided that Butler County needed to do something practical for the community rather than leave it up to federal lawmakers who will spend all their time arguing over the definition of what constitutes a legal weapon. Perhaps he was channeling President Donald Trump, who in another context often criticized career politicians as all talk and no action.
To prevent future school shootings, President Trump has endorsed the concept of arming some teachers in the schools who receive adequate training, but some members of his own party such as Florida Gov. Rick Scott, oppose the idea. Most Democrats are against it.
Sheriff Jones told Fox & Friends what happened after he announced the free concealed carry course, which, apparently, he had to cut off at 300 registrants, The Hill reported.
“We thought we’d offer 50 slots. Within 20 minutes we had 100. Within an hour, we had 150. We’ll probably be over 500…when people say teachers don’t want to be armed in school, that’s not true…it’s overwhelming with the numbers…we’re going to teach the teachers…we’re going to give them a concealed carry permit when they’re done.”
Sheriff Jones warned that there are copycat shooters out there now, so there is no time to waste as far as training teachers and others how to use a gun to protect kids in school responsibly. Otherwise, society is behaving like ostriches with their heads in the sand, he claimed.
Local school boards in Ohio have the final say, however, as to whether a teacher will be allowed to carry a weapon on campus after undergoing the required training. The sheriff has also floated the idea of stationing retired cops and military veterans at public schools.
Most educational facilities around the country are designated as gun-free zones.
With all the emphasis on gun control in the media currently, gun rights advocates point out that one or more Broward County Sheriff’s deputies stayed outside the school and failed to confront the Parkland gunman, prompting the hashtag #BrowardCowards to trend on Twitter. There are also calls for Broward Sheriff Scott Israel to step down or be removed from his position, even though he insists that he has exercised “amazing leadership.” As widely reported, the Broward Sheriff’s Department and the FBI received multiple warnings about the shooter prior to February 14.
Sheriff Jones, who has been making the rounds on the cable news networks, underscored that one cop assigned to a school is not enough in the presence of a determined attacker, especially when it typically takes six or more minutes for backup officers to arrive on the scene. By then, tremendous loss of life can occur. He added that the kids don’t need to know which teachers are armed, and there is no need for the entire faculty to be concealed carry licensees. A school resource officer also can’t be everywhere at once, Jones asserted.
“The president has also indicated he is open to other reforms to curb gun violence, including strengthened background checks, an increased age requirement to purchase semi-automatic weapons and a ban on bump stocks,” The Hill added.
Butler County Sheriff Richard Jones welcomed the first concealed carry class of teachers today in this Facebook video.