Republican candidates for governor support arming teachers, split on bump stocks

Both Republican candidates for Ohio governor say they support arming teachers as part of an approach to prevent further school shootings.

There is, however, a difference of opinion between Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine and Lt. Gov. Mary Taylor on bump stocks, devices that allow semi-automatic rifles to be effectively converted into automatic weapons. DeWine said he supports President Donald Trump’s direction to ask U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions to takes steps to ban the stocks. Taylor has said she does not think they should be banned.

Taylor said Thursday that she doesn’t believe restricting Second Amendment rights is the solution to mass shootings like the one at a Florida high school last week that killed 17.

Taylor said government officials also need to figure out how to identify students with mental health issues and address them.

A campaign spokesman for DeWine said DeWine’s views have not changed since December 2012, when he proposed that school districts consider arming at least one employee in the aftermath of a gunman killing 26 students and teachers at Sandy Hook Elementary in Connecticut. Ohio law authorizes local school districts to allow their teachers and other employees to carry concealed weapons, and some schools have “response teams” of employees trained to respond in the event of a school shooter.

Like Taylor, campaign spokesman Ryan Stubenrauch said law-abiding gun owners aren’t the problem. “Rather, the issue is mentally ill people who get access to firearms or criminals who get access to firearms when they shouldn’t,” he said.

The leading Democratic candidates for governor, meanwhile, all have proposed more stringent gun-control measures in the aftermath of the Florida school shooting.

Dennis Kucinich, the former congressman, this week called for a statewide assault-weapons ban. Richard Cordray, a former Ohio attorney general, meanwhile introduced a plan that included banning bump stocks, and called for background checks on all gun sales, including those on the internet and at gun shows.

U.S. Sen. Rob Portman, a Republican, said Saturday that Congress needs to take a fresh look at gun laws, but stopped short of committing to many of the reforms activists have been asking for in the wake of a Florida school shooting that left 17 dead.

House Freedom Caucus co-founder Jim Jordan on Friday endorsed President Donald Trump’s suggestion that specially trained teachers carry firearms in schools to protect students from violence.

“Every single church that I know of has that same kind of policy,” the Champaign County Republican said in a panel discussion at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in this Washington, D.C. suburb. “They have certain people who are carrying a concealed firearm to protect the folks who are at the service. And I think that makes sense for schools, too.”

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