While students staged walkouts on Thursday to remember the lives lost in the mass shooting in Parkland, Florida and protest guns, legislators at the state and federal levels are proposing various bills and ideas to keep schools and students safe from gun violence. Among those solutions is more armed security at schools or allowing teachers themselves to carry guns on campus. Now a representative for the state of Ohio suggested something that no one else has thought of.
Republican Rep. Niraj Antani (R-Miamisburg) floated the idea that 18-year-old high school students should be allowed to carry rifles in school if they meet the legal requirements and want to do so. Here’s the story from Dayton Daily News:
Law-abiding high school students age 18 years or older should be able to carry long guns inside public high schools, state Rep. Niraj Antani, R-Miamisburg, told the Dayton Daily News in an interview Thursday.
The issue came up during a Twitter dispute Wednesday between the state lawmaker and Zach Dickerson, a Democratic primary candidate for the District 42 seat Antani currently holds.
Antani has long advocated allowing college students to carry firearms on campuses, but the shooting deaths of 17 people at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., have injected into the national conversation a new round of debate about the place of weapons in American high schools.
The Ohio representative claims he never said he supports arming students, but his explanation to Dayton Daily News seems to say otherwise. Antani stated, “The law is anybody above 21 can have a handgun and anybody above 18 can have a long gun, and so anyone who complies with the law should be able to carry and protect themselves. If you look at what happened many decades ago, people brought their firearms to school. They kept them in their cars, maybe, but there was not a problem.”
Antani also added (emphasis mine), “My view is that anyone who is of age should be able to carry a firearm wherever they want. The only restriction I believe in is for private property.”
These comments have drawn sharp criticism, and as the state of Ohio is gearing up for its 2018 governor’s race, the Ohio Democrats tweeted asking Attorney General Mike DeWine, the front-running candidate for the GOP, whether or not he agrees with Antani’s views.
— Ohio Dems (@OHDems) March 16, 2018
Whether or not Second Amendment supporters and gun owners support the idea, don’t expect it to gain any traction, as the debate over allowing teachers to be armed is a battle in and of itself.