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Ohio Bill Would Limit Schools' Liability When Armed Staff Use Guns

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An Ohio bill would allow school boards to make closed-door decisions about arming employees, prohibit the release of the names of armed school staff, and provide immunity from civil liability resulting from employees' use of weapons on campus unless it is "reckless or wanton conduct."

The bill would also allow off-duty police officers to carry deadly weapons in school zones.

The proposal comes a month after a police officer accidentally fired his gun in an Ohio school, the Akron Beacon Journal reported.

Republican Rep. Kristina Roegner, the bill's sponsor, said in a statement on her website that the bill, which cleared the house, "aims to improve school safety, while maintaining local control by strengthening existing law."

Critics of the bill, including house Democrats, suggested increased mental health services would be a better way to promote school safety in the Buckeye State.

Amid the flurry of legislation proposed in 2013 in response to the Newton, Conn., school shootings were numerous bills aimed at arming school teachers, keeping school safety plans confidential, and easing gun restrictions in school zones. Many of those measures were voted down or failed to make it out of committee. It's clear now—perhaps because of several school violence incidents since then—that some state lawmakers intend to revisit the issue in their 2014 sessions.

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